That year, many players were signed: Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo (above), Karim Benzema, Alvaro Arbeloa, Raul Albiol, Esteban Granero. We finished second in the league by three points, and suffered a disappointment in the Champions League, but I think it was a year where the foundations were laid for a great project. One that finally led to us winning La Decima.
It was hard for us, though. In those years, we faced a brutal challenge against a Barcelona side that was not the usual Barcelona. Normally, they are a good side, of course – but Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona was an exceptional one.
After playing so many matches against them, we got to know each other in great detail. And we started to change little details that allowed us to battle them one-on-one. From then onwards, the results were very even.
“I could not help but see a bit of myself in those young players – in their eyes, their hopes, their desires”
And so to La Decima.
Before that Champions League final in Lisbon, the semi final against Bayern Munich was one of the most intense and demanding games for us.
We won the first leg 1-0 at home – but, in the second, I made a mistake and received a yellow card that meant I would not play in the final.
In that moment, the world came crashing down on me.
One month later, I was watching the final from the sidelines. I felt a lot of frustration at not being able to be on the pitch, where I wanted to be. Playing for something I had been fighting so much for.
Like thousands of fans, I lived that match very intensely.
It was very difficult. For a long time in the match, it looked as if it was going to run away from us. But then, everything changed in a second. With one Sergio Ramos header, everything changed.
That is the wonderful thing about football. It gives you big surprises, great joys.