Real Madrid's 'team of the generation' backed for more Champions League glory by Gomez

By Sports Desk May 09, 2023

Real Madrid are "the best team of this generation" and could go all the way in the Champions League again this season, according to former European champion Mario Gomez.

Madrid claimed their 14th European crown in incredible fashion last term, overcoming Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in a series of dramatic knockout ties.

Having reached the final despite losing a game in the last 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals, Los Blancos captured their fifth Champions League title in nine seasons by beating Liverpool 1-0 in Paris.

As Carlo Ancelotti's men prepare to face City in a repeat of last year's semi-final tie, former Bayern Munich striker Gomez described them as the "true beast" of Europe's premier club competition.

"With Real Madrid, over the last 10 years, how many times have we thought, 'it is over for them', and they just come back every time," Gomez said in an interview with the Go Turkiye YouTube channel.

"They are the true beast of the Champions League, absolutely unbelievable. 

"Since I was very little, I have been a Barcelona supporter, but I really enjoy this Real Madrid side.

"They believe until the last second, so, for me they are the best team of this generation.

"For that reason, I think that they will go really far. I don't know if they will win it, because football is unpredictable, but they can reach the final."

 

Turkey striker Cenk Tosun was speaking alongside Gomez, and having worked with Ancelotti during a stint in the Premier League with Everton, he believes the Italian could be set for more glory in Istanbul next month.

"It is always a special event to have the Champions League final here in Turkey," Tosun said. "Of course, Real Madrid is the winner of last season and a clear favourite. 

"They have the same manager as last year, Mr. Ancelotti. I worked with him at Everton and I really like him, he is a special person for me, so I would pick Real Madrid to win it."

Gomez appeared as a substitute as Bayern beat Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final, as part of a memorable treble won by Jupp Heynckes' team.

Reflecting on that win, Gomez said: "It was one of the most beautiful days in my life, because we were in the final one year before against Chelsea, and we lost [on penalties].

"To this day nobody knows how we lost that game. In 2012-13 we really had the power and energy to show people that it was our year, it was our time. 

"The final wasn't that good. Dortmund were as strong as us, if not better, but in the end, we got the trophy. When we got handed the trophy and lifted it in front of the fans, it was amazing.

"The four years I spent there were just incredible. There were so many special players in that team.

"I'll start with the two wingers. They were the stars and I was just the finisher. On the left-hand side we had Franck Ribery. 

"On the other wing, Arjen Robben. Totally different from Franck. He always wanted to finish. 

"With Arjen I always had to predict the keeper's movement, and if they saved his shot, I was there for the rebound. I scored many goals liked that!"

 

Related items

  • Gian Piero Gasperini talks up Atalanta’s ‘extraordinary’ season Gian Piero Gasperini talks up Atalanta’s ‘extraordinary’ season

    Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini acknowledges that his club are enjoying a “fantastic” season after reaching two semi-finals and challenging for Champions League qualification from Serie A.

    But the campaign’s business end has now arrived, with Atalanta putting their Coppa Italia hopes on the line in Wednesday’s semi-final second leg against Fiorentina.

    They have a Europa League semi-final against Marseille ahead of them next month, but their first task is to try and overturn a 1-0 deficit when Fiorentina arrive in Bergamo.

    “This year is extraordinary,” Gasperini told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    “Now let’s see in the next matches between the Italian Cup and the recoveries. The season is fantastic, now we are in the final verdicts.”

    Asked if the season would only be a good one if Atalanta win a trophy, he added: “Winners only if you win a trophy? No, it’s idiocy.

    “We each have to reach our own goals, otherwise we would all be losers in life and that’s not how it works. I consider myself lucky for what I’ve done in the various places I’ve been in.”

    Atalanta’s solitary Coppa Italia success in the final came 61 years ago with a 3-1 victory over Torino, and they have lost on four successive return visits.

    Fiorentina, meanwhile, last lifted the trophy in 2001, and they head to Bergamo on the back of a 2-0 Serie A win against Salernitana.

    Andrea Belotti, Nico Gonzalez, Luca Beltran and Giacomo Bonaventura all missed that game with knocks, but should return in an anticipated much-changed team.

    Gasperini also rotated his squad for the league clash against Monza, but he is likely to field a more familiar starting XI, with Gianluca Scamacca and Marten de Roon among those recalled.

    Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Italiano said: “We have the merit of arriving in May and still being in certain matches, which cannot allow us to switch off.

    “We must all be ready and motivated to give 100 per cent, because in these close matches it doesn’t take much to not being able to perform at our best. But we all have guys who always respond when called upon.”

  • Anybody's game: Gilbert, Williams cautiously optimistic about final outcome as Arnett, Portmore square after first leg Anybody's game: Gilbert, Williams cautiously optimistic about final outcome as Arnett, Portmore square after first leg

    Fairly satisfied with parts of their teams’ performances in an entertaining 1-1 first-leg quarterfinal stalemate, Arnett Gardens Head coach Xavier Gilbert and his Portmore United counterpart Phillip Williams are now hoping to build on the positives as they look ahead to the decisive Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League encounter.

    A 41st-minute Philando Wing own-goal which got Portmore United on the scoresheet, and Fabian Reid's 82nd-minute strike, left nothing to choose between the two teams at the end of the opening contest, which was a tale of two halves at Sabina Park on Monday.

    With the stage set for what should be an intriguing second-leg engagement at the same venue next Monday, Williams and his Portmore United outfit will be aiming to consolidate their first half showing, as well as to improve their second half approach, while Gilbert and his team are hoping to be more clinical in the final third, particularly in the latter stages of the contest.

    The winner of the second leg will secure a semi-final date with Cavalier.

    Williams believes the first-leg result was a reflection on the quality of both teams.

    "I think Arnett played a great second half because we gave them too much space and they took advantage of it. But we did what we wanted to do in the first half, and it is just a matter of going back to the training pitch to build on our first half performance and try to sort out the second half," Williams said.

    "The legs went in the second half, and we just have to look at that. It's the playoffs and so we know there is not much room for error, so we just have to go back and improve on the things we did well as well as to strengthen those areas where we fell short," he added.

    Portmore United, led by the menacing Alex Marshall, were more spirited at the start, as they quickly signalled their intentions courtesy of a high press approach and a series of quick build ups.

    Marshall, who was the focal point player of the attack, fired a seventh-minute warning shot from a distance that had Eric Edwards beaten, but the came back off the crossbar. With that scare, Arnett tightened their defensive approach and attempted to close down Marshall, but still the fleet-footed player found ways to get into the final third to pull the trigger, albeit, to no avail at that point.

    Arnett eventually settled into their game and should have gone ahead against the run of play in the 21st minute. However, young sensation Keheim Dixon went for power instead of accuracy from close range, and the stinging effort was equally well saved by Tyrone Williams in goal for Portmore United.

    Portmore replied 10 minutes later, but were also left ruing their luck, as Stephen Barnett's shot came back off the upright.

    They St Catherine-based team inevitably broke the deadlock when Marshall, with a delightful first touch, made space for a cross which Jahien Rose hit onto the upright, but the rebound came off Wing and left Edwards beaten.

    With the score unchanged at the break, Arnett Gardens fought back on the resumption, as they not only enjoyed the better of play, but also applied consistent pressure to which Portmore United had no response.