TEN YEARS WITHOUT JUANITO.- On april, 2nd, 10 years completed since the fatal accident that ended the life of one of Madrid's most remarkeable players ever: Juan Gómez, always known as "Juanito". Born in Málaga, the player arrived to Madrid in 1977 from Burgos. Soon, two main marks of his character became clear: first, his impressive class and skill as football player... and second his reckless character that too often pushed him out of limits. Rebel, fully sincere, he played for Real Madrid in a quite gray time, when the club started missing the european glory and before the arrival of the generation of players known as "la Quinta del Buitre". Notwithstanding, he raised several trophies, including 5 leagues, 2 Spanish Cups and 2 UEFA Cups.
Juanito soon reached the fans' admiration because of his fighting spirit and his natural instinct to transform football into art. Fans still remember a great goal with a super lob in Barcelona's Camp Nou when Maradona was playing for the catalans, o his joy when, after coming back from a 5-1 against Borussia Moenchedgladbach, he was replaced on the last minute: Juanito crossed all the pitch jumping and showing his joy for the great task achieved. His dark side: he kicked Mathhaeus' face in a match at the Olympiastadion and reached went words with former teammate Uli Stilelike when he visited Madrid with Switzerland's Neuchatel
His heart belonging to Madrid at 100%, he only left the club in 1987 to play two seasons for his native town club, Málaga. He received an impressive welcome when he came back home to Bernabéu. After hanging his boots, he became a coach, and his way of conceiving football started paying back soon when he boosted humble club Mérida. Many saw him as a certain future coach for Real Madrid, but a road accident when he came back to Mérida after seeing one match of his beloved Real Madrid made all those dreams crumble.
The only truth is that, 10 years after his death, Madrid supporters still shout from time to time, loud and clear, the word they always directed to encourage him: ILLA, ILLA, ILLA... ˇˇJUANITO MARAVILLA!! (Juanito delights!!)
THE EUROPEAN LEGEND (IV) 1959:REAL MADRID 2 - STADE REIMS 0.- Old friends awaited at the end of the race for the Fourth European Championship. The french of Stade Reims came to that match with the firm proposal of taking revenge from the defeat suffered three years earlier, when they lost home the first European final. This time, however, the magnificent Vincent Kopa would meet their former teammates wearing the white jersey. Earlier that season Besiktas, Wiener Sport Club (the austrians were crashed 7-1 in Madrid) and Atlético Madrid finally knelt down as Madrid won them all. Curiously, should the semifinals had been played today, archrivals Atlético would have qualified. A 2-1 victory in Chamartín (old Bernabéu's name) and a 1-0 defeat at the old Metropolitano stadium led then however to a tie break played in Saragossa, where Real earned a ticket to the final (2-1).
The final game, played at the Neckarstadion, in Stuttgart, was decided in the early minutes of each half. Mateos scored in the 4th minute, and a second goal from Di Stefano (47th min.) were enough to extend Real's mastership over Europe one more year, although the match wasn't the bright one seen in Paris in 1956.
The fourth winning starting list presented these players: Domínguez, Marquitos, Santamaría, Zárraga, Santisteban, Antonio Ruiz, Kopa, Mateos, Rial, Di Stefano y Gento.
THE EUROPEAN LEGEND (III) 1958:REAL MADRID 3 - MILAN 2.- Antwerpen, Seville and Vasa Budapest were the teams Madrid had to pass through to defend their championship for the second time.
The clash against Seville was specialy emotive, the Andalousians being the second spanish team to play for the Champions' Cup that year. The andalusians were blasted in Bernabeu, where they lost 8-0, turning the second leg match into a touristic journey. The results of Real at home were impressive: 6-0 against the belgians, 8-0 against Seville, and 4-0 to Vasas
Madrid played the final in Brussels, with the recently built Atomium looking over the Heysel stadium. The rivals were the AC Milan of Schiaffino, Liedholm and Maldini, and probably has been the toughest final Real has had to go through before claiming a victory. The italians took the lead twice, but Di Stefano and Rial hit back to every goal of Milan. The extra time had curiously not been foreseen by the UEFA organizers, who decided to play 30 more minutes in that very moment, and with most of players exhausted, the moment for Francisco Gento came. HIs speed and courage earned him the victory goal that left once more the Cup in Madrid
The third Champion eleven, upon Gento the best and most complete of that wonderful Madrid of the 50s was: Alonso; Atienza, Lesmes; Santisteban, Santamaría, Zárraga; Kopa, Joseíto, Di Stéfano, Rial y Gento
THE EUROPEAN LEGEND (II) 1957:REAL MADRID 2 - FIORENTINA 0.- After the previous year's success, Madrid defended their condition of first european king with style. Before the final match, the team coached by José Villalonga had to go over one of the best teams ever, the Manchester United led by Bobby Charlton. After that extremely hard semifinal, Real faced Fiorentina home, being this the first european final hosted at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
Even being hard, the game was not so reckless as the final in Paris in 1956. Fiore faced the typical catenaccio game, so in fashion among italian teams, to the espanish creativity, but a penalty shot to goal by the "Blond Arrow", Di Stefano, in the 70th minute cleared the way, and Gento decided the final some minutes after. Thus, Madrid players could make the lap of honour and receive the cheers of the spanish attendance.
The 1957 european champions were: Alonso,Torres , Marquitos , Lesmes , Muńoz ,Zarraga ,Kopa , Mateos ,Di Stefano, Rial y Gento.
THE EUROPEAN LEGEND (I) 1956:REAL MADRID 4 - STADE REIMS 3.- The development of football as a mass entertainment, and the raise of Europe after WW II, allowed the birth of an idea that would contribute to throw many barriers down: an european club championship. The idea, first held by the french sports paper L'Equipe, was immediately supported by RM's President Santiago Bernabéu
Thus, in 1955 Real played his first match of the new competition against Switzerland's Servette, easily winning 0-2. After putting aside this rival, Partizan and Milan followed, and Real reached the 1956 final at the Parc des Princes, facing the Stade Reims, that counted on french superstars Jonquet and Kopa.
The match reached top tension, and Real had to overcome from 0-2 and 2-3 against, so they could, with goals from Di Stefano, Rial (2) and Marquitos, take the lead and winning the first of the 8 titles -so far, that shine on their victory record.
Stade Reims would be an usual foe for Real Madrid in the late 50s. Until the Benfica of Eusebio and other great players appeared in Europe, both teams dominated the continental football, but Stade always found the spaniards on their way.
THE FLIES OF SANTILLANA.- In the early 197s, Real picked up a young player from Racing Santander. Carlos Alonso, nicknamed Santillana after his birthtown (Santillana del Mar, Cantabria), by then walking his first steps among the elite of football, payed back the interest becoming one of the best strikers in Madrid's history.
First years in Real were marked by a serious injury that put in real danger his career as a footballer, losing one of his kidneys. Despite this handicap, the player's pride soon revealed him as an excellent striker, owner of a great killer instinct and a special skill few times equalled at the Bernabéu stadium: his spectacular jumps and deadly head shots. Thus, first with Roberto Martínez, then with the unforgettable "Juanito", Real Madrid attacks counted on a scoring skill out of any doubt.
His football similar to the Chile striker and also former RM player Iván Zamorano's, he wasn't very skilled with his feet, but he became a symbol for RM fans before the explossive appearance of the "Quinta del Buitre".
His career close to an end, his behaviour was a model, like his best year. Santillando accepted little by little the outcome of a new generation, represented by Butragueńo and Hugo Sánchez, making an added value from his experience both in the training ground and in the matches' most difficult moments.
The player said farewell to the fans in 1988, scoring one of his famous goals with his head against Real Valladolid.
MADRID-BAYERN, A RIVALRY FOR HISTORY.-
This year's semifinal between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich is just the last of a long list of clashes for two european giants that have always left much to talk about since they first met in the top european competition in 1976.
It is certain than the bavarian champions are one of the few teams in the whole world that can show with pride a favourable record against Madrid.
In 1976, Bayern won a hard comfontation that, for instance, saw former RM striker Roberto Martínez leave the Bernabéu playground with his nose broken. The match also brought a most sad incident when the so-called "Mad of Bernabéu" hit the austrian referee Linemayr, causing a mercyless answer from UEFA.
After this clash, rivalry between both clubs grow through namely "friendly" matches, such as the humiliating 9-1 that Real received at the Olympic stadium in 1980, or the moment when Bayern left his match of the Santiago Bernabéu Summer Tournament against Dinamo Tbilisi, forcing the match to be cancelled.
In recent years, the incident between the most missed Juan Gómez "Juanito" and Lothar Matthäus in the 1987 semifinal, the awful gestures of Klaus Augenthaler towards the Bernabéu's attendance when he was sent off from the second leg's match, or the white exhibition in quarter finals next year.
Last season we lived a curious event: despite winning three out of four matches against Real, the spaniards won the decissive clash in the semifinals to reach the right to fight for -and win his eighth continental rule.
Now we'll soon see if germans get revenge after the complicated second leg at Olympiastadion
CYBEL, THE WHITE GODDESS.- RM fans are luckt for having the opportunity to celebrate many succcessful events. Although Real supporters spread as a legion all across Spain and even beyond, the very heartpoint of every celebration is Cybel Square, and to be precise, the Goddess' statue that gives name to the place.
In the early 80s, some fans decided to celebrate a great match of the national team bathing in the source surrounding the scuplture. The idea succeeded, and Madrid fans definetly made the Cybel statue the second holliest place of "madridism", just behind the Bernabéu stadium, while, as imitation, Atlético de Madrid supporters devoted the neighboring Neptune's statue to their colours.
Although in the first years they were the fans who invaded and climbed over the statue, this uncivic attitude finally claimed its tribute when one of the Godess' arms was broken and lost, being found weeks later, when the damage had been repaired. Since then, only players can reach the statue, even with justified reserves from the local authorities, although the square still is the meeting point for fans eager to celebrate the team's victories. After last year's european championship the crowd joined by the tens of thousands, and despite some nasty incidents, Cybel Square will always be seen as place for joy, and... yes, "fiesta".
1980: THE WHITEST FINAL.- In Spain, each club can have their lesser teams playing in national categories till being just one division below their elders. Also, till the early 1990s, these youth teams could fight for the Spanish Cup at the same time than the club's first.
This possibility was at the origin of one of the most beautiful pages in Madrid's history, when, in 1980, the first team faced the actyually called Real Madrid B, by then Castilla, who played in the spanish Second Divison. The fact, with no precedents in Europe, came real as the 'babies' passed through one round after another, hailed by the crowd that filled the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
The Final game, held of course at RM's stadium, was a dream made true where the final score was almost irrelevant. The elder avoided uncomfortable comments by blasting Castilla 6-1, but after the end of teh match, both teams stood in brotherhood around the trophy, since the only winner was the club.
Since nowadays this fact can't become real again, each club only allowed to play with its A team, the 1980 Final has left even with more reason as an unforgettable and unrepeatable remember.
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