The 2015-16 season was a rollercoaster ride for Real Madrid. Midway through the season, coach Rafa Benitez had to leave and Zinedine Zidane had to take the responsibility to run the show until the end of the season. Since the appointment of Zidane, the fortune of Real Madrid started to change. He focused on compactness and a never-say-die spirit, which triggered a rosy period in the history of Los Blancos.
Even though the La Liga title was lost, the Royal White advanced to the finals of the Champions League.
It was a nervy contest against Atletico Madrid.
Sergio Ramos shared the memories with UEFA.
Here are the excerpts:
Zidane the inspiration
Zidane told us that we had to keep our cool and that we had to control and dictate the play and the opportunities would gradually come our way.
He said that he was proud of us and that the Champions League had to be ours again.
Exploiting the aerial advantage
We’re a side that knows our strengths and we’d been working on how to do damage through set pieces for a long time.
We’ve got some great headers of the ball and knew that could work to our advantage. On the goal that made it 1-0, I managed to just get my toe on to the ball to score the goal.
The Panenka-style spot-kick
Taking a Panenka-style penalty is a marvelous way to take one when it comes to taking on that risk, but only when people think that you’re not going to do it. [Jan] Oblak and I had history and we knew each other well and it wasn’t the ideal time to do it.
The ball ultimately ended up in the back of the net, which was the main thing.
Despite being friends with many of the Atletico players, Ramos admitted that he didn’t speak to any of them ahead of the game but consoled some of them after the dramatic shootout….
I didn’t speak to any of the Atletico players that I know from the Spanish national team before the game, the likes of Juanfran, Koke, and Fernando Torres. We were all really focused and there was no time to speak to each other because there was a lot at stake.
After the game, I went to speak to all of their team and offered them words of encouragement, particularly Juanfran. When you miss a penalty, you have to become strong and overcome these kinds of things that football throws your way.
You’ve got to show that fair play with your teammates and help each other out at such times.