Michel, after Girona's defeat at the Santiago Bernabéu. Mateo Villalba (Getty Images)
Caution reigned in Girona before the match against Real Madrid.
There was no way to publicly break the script in any of the club's echelons.
From the locker room to the coaching staff, passing through the offices, in the red and white entity they only talked about Europe.
The Champions League was not mentioned - it will be able to coexist with Manchester City in the European competition as long as it demonstrates that no one from the City Group makes decisions in the Catalan club and that there are no commercial or player exchanges -, much less the possibility of lifting the League. .
However, in the Girona dressing room the dream of the title grew day after day, always close to the top of the table.
Until they visited the Santiago Bernabéu.
They arrived in the capital with two points less than Ancelotti's team and left with five less.
Once again, Real Madrid exposed the red and white chimera.
“If at some point the dream of winning the League had crossed our minds, Madrid took it away from us,” explains one of the Girona players after the beating in Chamartín (4-0).
They were warned, in Montilivi they had already succumbed to Vinicius, Bellingham and company (0-3) in the first round.
An overall 0-7 against Carlo Ancelotti's boys.
There was no better (worse) bathroom in reality.
“Our league is not this one,” Míchel acknowledged.
Real Madrid brings Girona down to earth
The worst thing for Girona was not only that Real Madrid warned that they had no cache to conquer Chamartín, but also that they erased their identity.
The rojiblancos are known for controlling games with the ball – “it is very difficult to take the ball away from us,” David López assured this newspaper.
At the Bernabéu, the leather slept on the whites' feet: 53.2% possession.
Girona, however, which has the same goals as Madrid in the League (52), left Chamartín without shooting on goal.
None of the visitor's five shots required Lunin's intervention.
In Montilivi, at least, Kepa counted three stops.
The most painful statistic for Míchel was in his defense.
Girona has conceded 29 goals in the League, seven were scored by Madrid: 24%.
In fact, Míchel's talk with his players in the locker room was practically identical to the one he held minutes later in the Bernabéu press room.
“He told us that it was his fault, that he had exposed us too much.
And that Madrid is what it is and its players are worth what they are worth,” says one of the red and white players.
“We try to play one-on-one and when they are at their maximum performance we don't arrive.
I think it was more of Madrid's merit than our demerit.
My players gave their all, but in the duels they were far superior to us,” the Girona coach publicly explained, who, after the duel in Chamartín, to ward off discouragement, gave his players two days off.
Yan Couto's tears at the Bernabéu embodied Girona's frustration.
“His teammates went out of their way to support him,” says one of those present in the team's locker room in Chamartín.
Even Vinicius took pity on his compatriot and consoled, along with Rodrygo, the red and white side.
Couto's 21 years symbolized the lack of experience in a high-tension duel of a team that had been left without its banners at the back: Blind (he reached the fifth yellow against Real Sociedad) and David López (injured).
Girona's leadership, in any case, is summed up in Míchel.
And the coach also watched the game away from the field at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Suspended, the charismatic coach, who represents much more than the board, had to watch the match in a box.
Girona is beginning to forget about the League title, but wants to keep the fight for the Champions League places alive.
“Our League is Athletic, Real Sociedad, Betis, Valencia... we cannot be in Madrid, Barça and Atlético.
They are three transatlantic,” recalled the Madrid coach.
It is precisely the message that Míchel insisted on in the locker room.
“We can't fall,” he stressed.
The cotton test will be on Monday the 19th against Athletic in San Mamés.
Of course, let no one talk about the Champions League.
Without the illusion of the title, the discourse clings to Europe.
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