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Real Madrid 3, AC Milan 1: Royal Rumble



In Spanish, “Real” translates to “Royal.” And Real Madrid have been successful at living up to their name over the years. This match was no exception, with quality play throughout and three excellent and deserved goals for the win. But something that struck me about this match is the way they respect their opponents. No whining and diving like their Catalonian adversaries. Just respecting their opponents by playing their best, then respecting the game, the ref, everything. I was impressed with the level of class, even if it was a royal rumble.

Maldini was part of the royalty that made this clash classy

The game got off to an exciting start, with Benzema scoring a great header in the second minute. Real Madrid 1-0. But Higuain, scoring against his former team, answered right back with an incredible goal from distance just two minutes later to make it 1-1 all. What a fantastic debut for Higuain in the Milan shirt. (Even if they were wearing those hideous third kits that look like a bunch of raspberries got in a fight with some black ink inside a blender.)

I was really proud of the way we played against the reigning Champions League winners, particularly since they’ve won the last three in a row. While they still dominated possession, we created some great chances and made Navas work really hard. Most of our players had solid games, or even really good games, and it felt like they are already a team, especially compared to this same time last year. Defensively, we were pretty consistent, despite conceding another goal in stoppage time of the first half by Bale from a corner, 2-1 Real Madrid.

Finally, Milan belong at the palace again

The second half was a nonstop parade of substitutes, with Lopetegui literally subbing at least 7-8 players over a three minute period beginning in the 76th minute. (Even after having made a few subs already.) Their depth is so impressive. Bacca and Cutrone were impressive when they both subbed on, I wouldn’t mind exploring our striker options there. But in the end, José Mauri will never compete with a player like Casemiro, or pretty much anyone else that played in a white kit in this match. Which is why, in stoppage time, Mayoral scored their third goal on the night, a rebound from a great Gigio save.

Our new captain making us forget the last one in attack and on defense

The most amazing part for me was actually the trophy presentation. After watching our brand new captain, Romagnoli, bring the trophy to the presentation area, Sergio Ramos saluted his idol, Paolo Maldini, who was on hand to help present the trophy. Incredible how much credibility one man could bring back to our club with his mere presence. I mean we all knew he would, but to see it firsthand from our opponents made it tangible and real. It really does feel like this time, Milan is going to be okay again. With all of the love shown between ex-players, national teammates, and old friends, it was more like attending a royal event than a football game. So even in loss, it was great to witness the royal rumble.


This post inspired by the music of XTC’s “King For A Day”


Our next match is
Serie A Week 1
Milan vs. Genoa
Sunday, August 19 • 20:30 CEST (2:30pm EDT)