The world’s richest team, Real Madrid, is gunning for a 10th European Cup since the club was founded in 1902, and manager Jose Mourinho says they “deserve it.”
Los Blancos take on Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their semi-final tonight, and The Special One hopes they can banish the memories of their recent last-four eliminations from the Champions League.
He says that Real’s recent semi-final history still lingers bitterly in their memories, and that for their efforts in the competition before and during this season, Real would be just winners of La Decima.
"I believe in the team for their individual quality that the players have, their collective quality, their way of playing," Mourinho said in his pre-match press conference.
"The players want this [to win the competition], and they deserve this. I would like that, over the two legs, football is fair to these people.
“They have not won a Champions League as a team. They were eliminated twice in ways which were hard to accept in the semi-finals. I would like football to be just with them."
Real must have watched Barcelona’s destruction in Germany last with glee, but with a certain wariness too.
They failed to beat their own German opponents Dortmund over two group stage matches, conceding four goals in a loss and a draw.
But Mourinho insists that Real have learned from their mistakes, and he thinks things will be different this time around.
"The goals they scored were all from our mistakes, all four were our errors," he said.
"All could have been easily avoided. I expect in this game we will have much more defensive concentration, be much more solid in that respect.
“If they score it will be fantastic or unstoppable, goals we could do nothing about."