MUNICH: Real Madrid reached the final of the Champions League for the first time since their ninth triumph in 2002 after a sensational victory which dethroned holders Bayern Munich in front of the Germans’ own fans.
Madrid won 4-0 on the night – their first victory in Munich – for a 5-0 aggregate success to sweep majestically into a final in Libson against city neighbours Atletico or Chelsea, who face off next at Stamford Bridge.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti, who guided Milan to the European title in 2003 and 2007, described his team’s performance as “perfect”.
Sergio Ramos scored with two early close-range headers from almost identical set-pieces before Ronaldo struck a third which was his record 15th in 10 games in the competition. The FIFA World Player of the Year then added the coup de grace with a teasing free kick in the last minute of the match which rolled beneath the Bayern wall.
With 16 goals the Portugal captain is the single-season record marksman in the entire history of the Champions League Cup, overtaking the 14-goal mark set by Milan’s 1960s hero Jose Altafini and Barcelona’s Leo Messi.
Bayern thus succumbed to the jinx that no club has proved consistently powerful enough to win the Champions League two seasons in a row. The beating was the heaviest suffered by Pep Guardiola in his senior coaching career.
The only disappointment for Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was that playmaker Xabi Alonso will miss the final after collecting a first-half yellow card. Alonso was still arguing with the referee after the final whistle when the rest of his team-mates were celebrating.
Madrid forward Gareth Bale, the world’s most expensive player after signing for €100m last year from Tottenham, said: “This is why I came to the biggest club in the world – to win trophies and play in massive games. It’s a fantastic result for us. We’ve been working hard, got our tactics right and deserved the win.”
Ancelotti added: “You dream of a perfect game – the first half was great for us. The team has a great spirit for working for each other.
“Reaching the final after 12 years was a big target and it makes me proud that I did it with the team. When I arrived at Real, you could feel something special in the air, there was a special atmosphere. The performance of the team was fantastic and we hope we have the same attitude in the final.”
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was scathing about the performance of the Bundesliga winners and defending European champions.
He said: “We have witnessed a debacle – we didn’t put enough passion into it. But now we have to keep our nerve and stay rational.”