Real Madrid’s most notable UEFA Champions League comebacks since 2000

There’s a special relationship between Real Madrid and the UEFA Champions League.

The Spanish soccer giants have won the Champions League a whopping 14 times, double the total for AC Milan, who are in second place with seven. Madrid won four titles from 2014 to 2018, failing to reach the finals only in 2015. With a win against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, CBS), Madrid will have 15 Champions League titles, extending their record.

Madrid seem to almost always find a way to win in the competition, as evidenced in their semifinal matchup against Bayern Munich this year. The German club struck first with a goal in the 68th minute. But Madrid came back, scoring in the 88th minute and then 91st to steal a win and advance 4-3 on aggregate.

The remarkable comeback had shades of other late victories by Madrid. Here’s a look at their most iconic Champions League comebacks since 2000.

Down 5-3 on aggregate to Manchester City at the 90th minute, an exit in the 2021-22 semifinals looked inevitable. But Madrid didn’t get the message.

Rodrygo netted two goals — one at the 90th minute, the other at the 91st — to send the game to extra time. Then, five minutes into the first 15 minutes, Karim Benzema won a penalty and converted, putting Madrid in the lead on aggregate.

They held on for a 6-5 win on the road to their 14th, and most recent, Champions League title.

“The great virtue of this club is never giving up, fighting to the end,” then-Madrid midfielder Casemiro said.

2022 quarterfinal vs. Chelsea

The tables turned for Madrid early in their second leg against Chelsea. Madrid enjoyed a 3-1 lead on aggregate heading into the match, but it was Chelsea who orchestrated a furious comeback. A goal in the 75th minute put the English side up 3-0, firmly in the driver’s seat.

Madrid’s rally started when Rodrygo struck with a goal in the 80th minute. The match entered extra time and Benzema scored in the 96th minute, putting Madrid ahead for good.

“We have a lot of things to improve, especially at the start of the game, but this is Real Madrid — we’re taught here to never give up,” Madrid’s Nacho Fernández said. “The DNA of this club is to fight until the end. Mission accomplished.”

There was something in the air during Madrid’s 2021-22 Champions League campaign. Facing PSG’s powerful trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, Madrid star Benzema stood out among all of them.

Mbappé scored near the end of the first half, giving the French side a 2-0 lead on aggregate. All PSG had to do was hold on, but the game changed in the 61st minute. Benzema scored the first of his three goals, with the other two coming in the 76th and 78 minutes for a rapid hat trick.

At 34 years old, Benzema became the oldest player to score a hat trick in Champions League history. Madrid hung on to win, adding another comeback to their resume.

“We wanted to see this stadium like the fans were today, we needed them, the win is for them,” Benzema said. “It was very difficult, we pushed until the end and we deserved to go through.”

German club Wolfsburg shocked Madrid in the first leg, winning 2-0 to generate plenty of momentum heading into the second leg. However, Madrid came ready to play six days later at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

Cristiano Ronaldo evened the tie with two first half goals in just 86 seconds, then pushed Madrid to victory with a 77th minute free kick. At the time, it was Ronaldo’s fifth Champions League hat trick, tying Messi’s record.

“Here it’s mythical,” Ronaldo said. “At the Bernabéu, comebacks are always on people’s lips. Real Madrid have done many comebacks in their history and we managed one tonight too. … It was a perfect night.”

All Real Madrid fans need to hear is “92:48” and they’ll know exactly what someone is talking about.

Down 1-0 in the 2014 Champions League final against their rivals, Madrid had one last corner kick to even the score. Luka Modric played the cross and Sergio Ramos headed the ball in the net at 92:48, sending the game into extra time.

Madrid took over in the extra period, scoring three times for a 4-1 win. It marked the completion of “La Décima,” the club’s coveted 10th Champions League title.

“It was a great cross from my friend [Luka] Modrić and I headed it with all my heart, desire and hope,” Ramos said in 2020. “But it wasn’t just me who scored that goal. That goal was scored by every Real Madrid fan.”