The Uefa Champions league has had winners from seven different countries. Two Italian clubs A.C. Milan and Juventus FC all played three consecutive finals in the 90’s but won just one. AC Milan won in 1994 but lost the finals in 1993 and 1995. Juventus won in 1996 and lost out in 1997 and 1998. A single team from Spain being Valencia CF lost two consecutive finals at the turn of the century and English Premier league giants Manchester United played in the final twice in 2008 and 2009 and won once in the former.

Champions league’s surprised exits

There has been some mighty sides in the competition but the conditions under which defending champions exit the tournament is unbelievable. In the 2003/04 season, defending champions A.C. Milan after a 4-1 home lead to Deportivo La Coruna lost 0-4 in the second leg with an in-form Roy Makaay leading the routing.

In the 2006/07 season, defending champions FC Barcelona were eliminated on the away goals rule after losing 1-2 at Camp Nou and winning 1-0 at Anfield to Liverpool.

Manchester United lost 0-2 on a hot night in Rome to an FC Barcelona side that missed defenders Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves.

In the period of (2008-2012), FC Barcelona had arguably the best assembled team in club football but the team never defended the title. Bayern Munich’s 0-4 loss to Real Madrid summed up this belief and led many pundits to certify this assertion; would Real Madrid suffer the same fate?

Real Madrid savors the return of Gareth Bale

The losses of Real Madrid came at a time where Gareth Bale was sidelined but against Villarreal CF at the El Madrigal on Sunday, he showed what he brings to the side and what the team has lacked due to his absence and that is urgency.

Against Napoli at San Paolo, Real Madrid would face the whole support of Italy and would need the runs, cut-ins, crosses and goal scoring form of the Welshman to surpass this stage and a quest towards defending it.

Only time will tell if Real Madrid can defend the title but if history continues to prove itself in a way that has seen the mighty fallen then Los Blancos would need a super human effort to break this spell.

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