Rodrygo: 'Best version of myself' brought Madrid back from the dead

By Sports Desk May 05, 2022

Real Madrid hero Rodrygo Goes acknowledged his stunning cameo against Manchester City was his "best version" of himself in the Champions League as he led the 13-time European champions into the final.

Rodrygo had scored a vital goal against Chelsea in the quarter-finals and was required for another rescue act in the last four.

Madrid were still 4-3 behind on aggregate when the winger was introduced from the bench with 22 minutes remaining in the second leg, only for Riyad Mahrez's strike to then put Carlo Ancelotti's men two behind.

It appeared a lost cause, but Madrid do not deal in such defeatism – at least not this season and certainly not in this competition.

Rodrygo steered in from Karim Benzema's cutback with less than a minute of normal time to play, before remarkably heading in another 91 seconds later.

Those goals took the tie to extra time, where Benzema's penalty – won by the forward from a Rodrygo pass – sent Madrid through 6-5 on aggregate.

Benzema's 10th goal of the knockout stage tied Cristiano Ronaldo's 2016-17 record, but it would not have been possible without Rodrygo, who has remarkably scored with seven of his 10 shots on target in home Champions League games.

The Brazil international became the first Madrid substitute to score twice in a Champions League match since Gareth Bale's double in the 2017-18 final against Liverpool. That was the last time Los Blancos won the competition, but they are on the brink again against the same side.

"I'm really happy to be able to score two goals in the semi-final and get Madrid to the place where they always belong – the Champions League final – and to win it," Rodrygo said.

"I couldn't hear what my team-mates were saying to me because I couldn't believe what was happening.

"We were losing the game, my first goal in the 90th minute and we were dead, and then what happened was what happened.

"That's my best version of myself in the Champions League, and I hope I can continue to score a lot more times.

"In this shirt, we learn to always fight until the end and that's the way it was. We conceded a goal and we were almost dead, but with my first goal we started to believe because we've fought back in other games, and then came the second.

"From right now, we turn our attentions to Liverpool. We have another two LaLiga games we can use to prepare for the final."

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