Zinedine Zidane admitted that his side had made hard work of it after they secured a third consecutive Champions League final appearance with a narrow 4-3 aggregate win over German champions Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Madrid drew 2-2 on the night, but progressed to the May 27 final in Kiev thanks to their 2-1 win in Germany a week earlier.
Zidane’s team were not at their best, and the Frenchman said that his side had suffered as Bayern had pushed them all the way in search of the goal that would have taken them through.
“It was a mad game but a lovely one,” Zidane said afterwards.
“You have to suffer in football. You can’t reach a final without suffering and it’s even better like this. Well, maybe not for the heart. But it is.”
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Asked how they had managed to survive the Bayern onslaught, Zidane praised his team’s fighting qualities.
“It’s not just the team, it’s the club. It’s a history that comes from a long way back and now it’s a history we are writing, just as those other teams did. This team never surrenders. We know it is hard but we believe in what we do and keep fighting.
“I feel very good, because when you do something like this it’s very nice. We like football because of this kind of emotion.
“We still haven’t won anything, but we’re in the final and that’s enormous. We can be happy because it’s not normal to be in the final for a third year in a row.”