Carlo Ancelotti has pleaded with the Real Madrid fans to unite with the players in order to secure the ‘Decima’ after supporters jeered both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale even though Real beat Rayo Vallecano 5-0.
Ronaldo opened the scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu, but when he wasted an opportunity to add a second with the home side already 4-0 up, the fans turned on the Ballon d’Or winner for not passing to striker Alvaro Morata, who was in a better position to score.
The forward has undoubtedly been Real’s best player since completing his £80m move from Manchester United in 2009, and Ancelotti was left bemused by the fans, who appeared to still be harbouring frustration from the back-to-back defeats to Barcelona and Seville.
Champions League: The last eight teams standing
Champions League: The last eight teams standing
1/8 ATLETICO MADRID
Best: Runners-up (1974)
Star man: Diego Costa
Overview: Have let their chances of winning the Primera Division slip lately, but they are still having a superb year thanks to the 22 goals of Diego Costa. A 5-1 aggregate win over AC Milan in the last 16 will have done their confidence no harm.
Best: Winners (1992, 2006, 2009, 2011)
Star man: Lionel Messi
Overview: Also likely to lose out to Real Madrid for the La Liga title following a recent dip in form. Kept their European dream alive with relatively straightforward 4-1 win over Manchester City in the previous round.
3/8 BAYERN MUNICH
Best: Winners (1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013)
Star man: Franck Ribery
Overview: Pep Guardiola is hoping to join an exclusive club of coaches who have won the Champions League with two different clubs. Bayern, unbeaten in the Bundesliga, wasted little effort getting past Arsenal in the second round.
4/8 BORUSSIA DORTMUND
Best: Winners (1997)
Star man: Robert Lewandowski
Overview: Defeated by Bayern in last year's final. Some 23 points behind their rivals in the Bundesliga and went down to a disappointing home defeat to Zenit St Petersburg in the second leg of their last-16 tie.
Best: Winners (2012)
Star man: Eden Hazard
Overview: Chelsea surrendered the initiative to Manchester City in the Premier League title race last weekend when they lost to Aston Villa, but few would bet against Jose Mourinho winning a third Champions League trophy after their ruthless display against Galatasaray in the last round.
6/8 MANCHESTER UNITED
Best: Winners (1968, 1999, 2008)
Star man: Robin van Persie
Overview: David Moyes has endured a horrid debut season domestically, but his team gave United fans a night to remember on Wednesday when they overturned a two-goal deficit to progress at the expense of Olympiacos.
7/8 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Best: Semi-finalists (1995)
Star man: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Overview: Deprived of a place in the World Cup, Ibrahimovic will be looking to prove to the world that he is just as good as he thinks he is. PSG's expensively-assembled squad hammered Bayer Leverkusen 6-1 on aggregate in previous round.
8/8 REAL MADRID
Best: Winners (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002)
Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo
Overview: After a 12-year wait, this could finally be the season when Real Madrid finally achieve la decima (the 10th European Cup). Ronaldo is two goals shy of breaking Lionel Messi's record of 14 in one Champions League campaign following his four-goal haul in the 9-2 aggregate win over Schalke.
“We need the help of everyone,” said Ancelotti. “Whistling Cristiano is incomprehensible.
“I have always said that sometimes I understand whistles because they can be deserved. Right now? No, the players are putting in a lot of effort.”
Bale was booed early in the match, having failed to fire on all cylinders against the Catalan side before suffering the wrath of Ronaldo for wasting a late free-kick against Seville as Real went down 2-1.
However, the world-record £86m signing soon silenced his doubters as he scored a brace – the second a wonderful effort that began in his own area, sprinting up-field before powerfully striking a shot beyond Vallecano goalkeeper Ruben.
Ancelotti has called for fans to rally behind the side in their efforts to secure a tenth Champions League crown, having not lifted the European Cup since 2002. The players will also be out for revenge, as they come up against German side Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in the quarter-finals, having been eliminated by Jürgen Klopp’s outfit in the semi-finals last season.
“On Wednesday, we'll have a great atmosphere at the Bernabeu because everyone is dreaming of the Decima [10th European Cup] and they know we can win if everyone gets behind the team,” recognised Ancelotti. “Together we can achieve the dream.”
The Italian also believed that their chances of claiming a Champions League and Copa del Rey double are firmly intact, despite throwing away their advantage in the hunt for the La Liga title. Both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona recorded victories over Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol respectively on Sunday, but the two sides meet on the final day of the season in a fixture that could still let Real steal in on the championship.
“Naturally this win is important,” Ancelotti stressed. “We could be better, given we lost twice, but physically we're good.
“If we win all the games that we have left, at least we win the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.
“We just have to believe in ourselves and be positive.”