Real Madrid are in a crisis season so far but can rescue glory in the Champions League… they should know, they’ve done it before
- Real Madrid currently sit sixth in La Liga, seven points behind leaders Barcelona
- Their hopes of replicating their 2016-17 title triumph already appear quite slim
- But Real have become adept at salvaging their season by winning in Europe
- On six occasions in the modern era, they have won Champions League despite falling short in La Liga
Already seven points behind Barcelona and down in sixth place in La Liga, Real Madrid might need to pull off that old trick again of being a shambles in the domestic competition and sensational in Europe.
Sportsmail looks at how often it has happened before and asks if it can really happen again.
Real Madrid are struggling domestically following a poor start to the Spanish season
Real Madrid find themselves sixth in La Liga – seven points behind Barcelona – after a poor start
Madrid finished fourth this season, 11 points behind Barcelona at the top of the table.
It mattered not a jot when Pedrag Mijatovic scored the only of the game against Juventus to win the club their first European Cup in 22 years.
Jupp Heynckes was not allowed to bask in the glory for long however. He was fired just eight days after the final.
Real Madrid celebrate with the European Cup after defeating Juventus in the 1998 final
It was the first time Real had won the famous trophy in 22 years but Jupp Heynckes was sacked
John Toshack had started the season on the Real Madrid bench but – a la Lopetegui – had been sacked by November.
Del Bosque took the reigns and led the club to their eighth European Cup but he couldn’t turn domestic form around.
The team didn’t even finish in the top four, rolling in fifth, out of the Champions League places, and seven points behind champions Deportivo.
Real Madrid once again claimed the Champions League in 2000, defeating Valencia 3-0
Coach Vicente del Bosque is lifted by his players after Real’s triumph in the Paris final
Vicente Del Bosque was in charge for the win in Glasgow.
Zidane’s thunderbolt volley covered a multitude of domestic sins – they team finished third, nine points behind Valencia, and a year later Del Bosque was fired although only after winning the league – moral of the story being if a Real Madrid coach wants to save his job he’s better winning the European Cup than the league.
Well, nearly always – see 1998.
Zinedine Zidane scored his famous volley as Real beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in the 2002 final
Real celebrate their victory over Leverkusen at Hampden Park in Glasgow in May 2002
Madrid won the ‘Decima’ under Carlo Ancelotti and it saved him his job because president Florentino Perez had already decided that he had to go for not winning the league.
The team were only third and only three points behind Barcelona but he would have been dismissed had Sergio Ramos not headed in that injury leveller and they not then destroyed Atletico Madrid in injury time.
Cristiano Ronaldo whips his shirt off in celebration after scoring in the 2014 win over Atletico
Gareth Bale was also on target as Real Madrid celebrated the ‘Decima’ – their 10th success
Zinedine Zidane took over in the middle of the season and steered the club to the first of his three Champions Leagues as a coach.
He turned league form around too but they still finished second despite having closed a 13 point gap to just a solitary point.
Zinedine Zidane guided Real Madrid to the first of their hat-trick of European wins in 2016
The supporters soon forgot about missing out on the league when they won the European Cup
There is no need to dust down too many archives to find one of the greatest examples.
They finished the season 17 points off the pace in the last campaign but were still smoking big cigars in Kiev after beating Liverpool in the final.
Well, not quite smoking big cigars – Ronaldo was doing television interviews telling the world he wanted to leave, Bale was preparing a similar statement of intent and Zidane was already thinking of quitting while he was ahead.
The league started badly for them last season and when they finally got their form back the emphasis was fully focused on the Champions League.
Real’s 3-1 win over Liverpool in Kiev earlier this year completed a hat-trick of European success
Zinedine Zidane quit while he was ahead after leading Real to a third straight win in Europe
The performance against Roma at the Santiago Bernabeu in their first Champions League group game was their best of the season so far.
They also have the January transfer window to strengthen in so it could happen again. They have Italian physical trainer Antonio Pintus back putting the players through their paces too.
He was on board when they won their last three Champions Leagues but was given a backseat role when Lopetegui came in. He will get the players flying once more but they might not see the effects until into the New Year.
Santiago Solari has taken charge at the Bernabeu following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui
Real currently top Champions League Group G but still have some work to do to qualify
This is also, potentially a swansong season for some. There will be big changes at the end of next season with the likes of Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and maybe even Gareth Bale – all legends of the three-in-a-row and four in five years era – likely to be moving ever closer to the door.
It would be a great way for them to sign off with another success. They will miss Ronaldo’s goals. But he was often more instrumental in getting them there than making sure they won the final.
If they do win it for a fourth successive time, there will be the added plus of doing it in their own city at the home of their local rivals.
And if it’s Santiago Solari still in charge it will be extra special for him too because he played for both the Spanish capital’s big teams.
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