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The Intense Rivalry Between Real Madrid and Manchester City

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

After the World Cup, it is a footballer’s dream to win the Champions League title with their team. This title is a face-off between the best teams in Europe, all obtaining the same goal: to win the trophy and carry the prestige that comes with it. Personally, I hold the Champions League tournament very dear to me, considering if it wasn’t for the Real Madrid Manchester City Game in 2022, I would have never discovered I wanted to be a sports reporter. So, on that note, I will touch upon the best matchup in soccer today: Real Madrid and Manchester City.  

This rivalry truly began the day I fell in love with the sport, May 4th, 2022. Though they did face off a couple of times prior to this matchup, nothing compared to the impact this game had. In minute 89, Real Madrid was down 3-5 and needed three goals to win. They had a 1% chance of winning the game and moving on to the Finals; however, Rodrygo and Benzema had other plans. Miraculously, during extra time, these men did the unthinkable and scored three goals in a matter of 5 minutes. In soccer, that never happened due to the level these players are at, yet Real Madrid, during the last minutes of the game, put everything they had and more to beat this British team. This win left City completely heartbroken, considering they thought they were going to be able to win the club’s first Champions League. However their dreams were crushed and left empty handed in the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu with vengeance for the next time their teams will meet. Their next standoff, which was in 2023, demonstrated that Manchester City was not going to let Real Madrid snatch the tournament away from them again. Their first game ended in a draw 1-1, but once they went back to Manchester, they wanted to make their people proud. So the team showed no mercy and scored 4 goals against the Merengues (Real Madrid). The British club came for vengeance and wanted to prove that what happened last year will never happen again. After asserting their dominance against Real Madrid, Manchester City ended up winning their first title with ease and composure versus Milan. 

Now, in the 2024 Quarter-finals, these teams meet up once again, trying to prove who deserves the title more. Their first match was quite exciting since there were a total of 6 goals, three each. Manchester City was the first team to initiate the scoreboard in an astonishing time of 2 minutes. Not to mention, the goal was a far free kick by Bernardo Silva, whose experience and skill only seem to get better over time. However, Real Madrid was not going to let go that easily, and twenty minutes later, they scored twice. The first goal was an out-of-box shot that was so powerful that when deflected off of Rueben Diaz, it went flying inside the goal. Next, the other goal was a counterattack that was a three versus one. Somehow, Vinicius puts it away, giving Real an advantage. Gradually, Manchester City was obtaining momentum, so by the second half, they scored two goals and had complete possession of the ball. Many thought that there was no way Real would score since Manchester City had complete possession and was attacking like no other. However, with the help of Rudiger and Caravajal, the defense was sturdy, helping the Spanish team not concede any more goals. Because of the defense, Real was able to counterattack the British team, leaving them unprepared. Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde scored a beautiful volley, leaving a score of 3-3 in minute 80. After Real’s goal, they seemed to have momentum and almost had an advantage over the next game. However, City was strong and was ready to go to their beloved Etihad Stadium and potentially move on to the Semi-Finals. 

On April 17th, both teams faced off to see who was the victor and move on to the next round. Towards the beginning, both teams had possession of the ball, yet Real was able to capitalize, making the scoreboard 1-0 in minute 11. The goal depicted the skill each player had and composure when pressured by the defense. Yet that goal was one of the very few times Real made it to City’s net because they had complete control of the game. Manchester City had 68% possession and 33 shots, while Real Madrid had a minuscule 8 shots on target. Their dominance of the game ultimately made most Real players push back and start defending. Even though most of the team was pushed back, Kevin De Bruyen was able to score an amazing goal, tying the game 1-1. After his goal, Manchester had multiple chances to move on to the next round, but goalie Andriy Lunin saved the team 8 times. This tie led to overtime, which led to penalty kicks. In the game, Manchester City demonstrated why they deserved to pass, yet Real Madrid did not let them score. Ederson, Manchester City’s goalie from Brazil, had more experience not only in this team but also in his national team, making him very confident leading up to this shootout. On Real Madrid’s side, their goalie, Andriy Lunin, is a 25-year-old Ukrainian man who does not have much experience. He only started to play for Real this February, making many people wary of his capabilities to win the game for Real. Though he had an amazing game, so one never knows, he could surprise everyone… and that he did. City was able to choose the side and order of the shootout. They decided on the side where there were no Real supporters and wanted to take the first penalty. So, up first was Julian Alverez, winner of all major titles you could think of. He was subbed in minute 90 for Erling Haaland and was ready to shoot the penalty kick. He scored leading Manchester City 1-0, and up next was Real’s historic midfielder, Luka Modric. He has won 5 champion Leagues and wanted this to be his 6th. Surprisingly, Luka’s shot gets blocked by Ederson, who keeps Manchester’s lead 1-0. Many of the players and Manchester City fans screamed of joy but Real kept composure and had faith. Up next was Bernardo Silva who scored in the first game and is one of the most important players the team has. He goes up to shoot, and the ball is blocked… he strikes it right in the middle where Lunin is waiting. The score was still advantageous, Manchester City 1-0, until Jude Bellingham, Real’s star boy, tied it up 1-1. Next was City’s Mateo Kovačić, who played for Real Madrid in 2015. While Mateo was about to shoot, one of the players told Lunin to go left, considering he might know how the player kicks penalties. Lunin listened and blocked Kovačić, keeping the score 1-1. Now, all Real had to do was score the next three penalties to make it through to the next round. Evidently that is what the team did, winning the game and moving to the next round. Even though both Phil Foden and Edereson made their shots, all three of the men in Real Madrid scored.

Manchester City received another big upset from Real Madrid considering they played like the better team. This loss will only make this rivalry stronger and who knows maybe next time Manchester get their vengeance again. This was overall two amazing games and as a soccer fan I hope this intensity between clubs never dies.

Isabella Ferrou is a Freshman at the University of Tampa and writes articles for Her Campus. She studies Journalism and enjoys to write about Latin pop culture, movies and sports. Her articles incorporate her Latina culture with her interests more specifically movies and sports. Isabella enjoys watching sports and movies, being active, going to the beach and traveling. She often is outside being active or hanging out with her friends. Bella always enjoyed sports and loved watching soccer every weekend.