Real Madrid’s jubilant players have all pinpointed a change in atmosphere after their late equaliser against Manchester City that spurred them on to complete their incredible Champions League comeback.

Real were staring at a semi-final defeat going into injury time at the end of their second leg two goals down on aggregate, but a quickfire Rodrygo double in that stoppage time forced the game into extra time. At that point, Real players Thibaut Courtois, Casemiro and Fede Valverde all said that they knew there would only be one winner.

Goal hero Rodrygo also said Madrid’s history in the Champions League, and their comebacks against PSG and Chelsea in this year’s competition, were enough to give them belief that they could knock City out too.

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“We were losing the match, we were dead and what happened, happened,” Rodrygo said.

“With this shirt, we learn to always fight to the end. We were almost dead but with my first goal we started to believe.”

That equaliser on the night gave the Bernabeu crowd belief too that Real could turn the tie around, and from that point, City were beaten.

“It’s the spirit and the desire to win. When they score a goal it seems like everything is falling apart, but the fans were a great help to keep fighting until the end,” said Valverde.

“When the goals come you say: ‘We’re going to win’. They are very good, Paris, Chelsea, City. The game that I suffered the most was against Chelsea, it was very hard physically. They ran until the last. Today emotionally we were very good”.

Goalkeeper Courtois, who denied Jack Grealish just before late Madrid’s comeback, said he could see a change in City’s attitude when Real scored their first and the crowd reacted.

He told Movistar: “One word: Real Madrid. We kept believing until the end, just before a key save Mendy takes off. We made it 1-1 and they looked dead. In extra-time we tried to defend well. Facing the goal we were not good, we failed passes, a clear Vini missed.

“But that goal, that moment. The 1-1 we won’t say screwed up, but they knew that anything could happen. We have eliminated very big teams, who have spent a lot of money to win the Champions League Today it was more about the final minutes and it’s more incredible. We really want to get back to a final. When you get to a final, everyone has a huge desire, it doesn’t matter who has three or four already”.

Midfielder Casemiro was arguably lucky to be on the pitch in the first half after committing three bookable offences but not getting a card.

“Incredible. There is no better feeling, it was very difficult to get here,” he said, echoing his teammates’ assessments.

“You have to enjoy the moment. We have spent two years without the public, a lot of people we have lost, now we have to enjoy with them. This final is for them, but we know that the most difficult remains. We must congratulate everyone. This is what this club is, the key phrase is: never give up.

“We must be happy, we have eliminated a great team, to a great coach… ‘My goodness, how they play football. This is for the people!”

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