Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Santiago Canizares know exactly how it feels to lose a UEFA Champions League Final.
The ex-Spain international won the competition with Real in 1998, but found himself on the losing side two years in a row with Valencia.
He joined Mastercard and several fans to discuss this week’s all-Madrid clash and share his experiences of the competition, offering empathy to the Atletico supporters who have seen their club lose two finals in three years.
“I cried more than Ateltico fans did,” Canizares told Goal .
“I was famous for crying in the 2001 final versus Bayern Munich. It’s obvious that you feel disappointment, but at the same time there is admiration for having got there.
Canizares’ tears arrived after Valencia went down on penalties to the Germans, providing one the UCL’s most iconic images as Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn consoled him.
“I don’t even know if Kahn said anything. I was in mourning, wondering whether it was possible to rewind and retake our last penalty.
“At that moment, nothing else matters much. I grew up with the dream of winning the UEFA Champions League.”
Real and Atletico fans take the Heartbeat challenge
Check out how far these Atlético de Madrid & Real Madrid C.F. fans went for UEFA Champions League semi-final tickets! #MadnessorPriceless Posted by Goal.com on Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Last week, Real Madrid saw off Atletico Madrid 3-0 in the first leg of this year’s semi-finals as Canizares joined two fans for the MasterCard Heartbeat Challenge, which saw the supporters asked to keep their heart rates under 80bpm during the match.
They failed miserably, of course, but were rewarded with tickets to the second leg for the passion they displayed.
“I had a really good time with the fans,” said Canizares. “It’s Impossible to live a match like that with a low pulse. I was sure they were going to lose the MasterCard challenge.”
Atleti face an uphill task at the Vicente Calderon. “The tie is pretty much over,” insists Canizares. “I think that if you had asked both teams beforehand, they would have said that a 3-0 win in the first leg would finish it and that it is impossible to come back.
But Canizares is still expecting a fiercely contested match. “The Madrid derby is a match that is charged with emotions and you live it intensely,” he says.
That it will be the last ever match at the Calderon, with Atleti set to move stadiums, will make it all the more intense.
“The Calderon heart is something that is never in doubt and Atletico can always be proud of that.
“And they can also be proud of their current squad. Before, they were watching on television, but now they are fighting for these titles.”
Just how far would you go for your team? MasterCard want all UEFA Champions League fans to join the debate on social using the #MadnessOrPriceless hashtag!