For many Madridistas, the image of Cristiano Ronaldo hanging in the air, as if performing a levitation trick, dwarfing Patrice Evra and just about to send the ball crashing into the Manchester United net, will remain imprinted on their mind for many a year.
Depending on next month’s second leg result, it may well be long remembered by Manchester United fans as well.
United fans won’t be alone in dreading the aerial threat of Ronaldo and company this season, as Madrid have made it one of their principal attacking threats.
This season in La Liga more than 10 percent of Madrid’s goals have come from headers, from players as varied as Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Angel Di María. In stark contrast, Barcelona have only scored a solitary header in the entire league, through Carles Puyol.
Both Madrid’s squad and their style of play largely contribute to the constant aerial threat they apply to defending teams. In their last match nine out of the 10 outfield players were taller than 5'9"; for Barcelona’s last game only two of the ten outfield players were.
Add in the fact Los Blancos prioritize swift counter-attacking football to long, possession-based build ups, and it is easy to see why and how Madrid have become such a strong aerial force.