When the final whistle blew at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night, it ended the prospect of a Clasico Champions League final with Barcelona. The fact it had been Alvaro Morata, a cantera product, who scored the decisive goal to knock Real Madrid out made it all the more galling. As a result, it will be Juventus – not Los Blancos – facing Barcelona in Berlin on June 6.
The prospect of a final between Spain’s two most illustrious teams would have been salivating to neutrals. However, that Barca reached the final and Madrid didn't has far-reaching consequences for both teams.
For La Blaugrana, the outcome of the final will have more ramifications off the pitch than on it. Club President Josep Maria Bartomeu faces an important presidential election at the end of the season, which could decide the long term future of the club. Under Bartomeu’s short tenure, he has approved plans to renovate Camp Nou and the Espai Barca project but in turn has been accused by rivals such as Agusti Benedito, who is also running for presidency, of contemplating selling Lionel Messi and being too close to Qatar.
Winning the Champions League would be a boon to the Catalan outfit, something Bartomeu can use as ammunition during the lead up to the election. He would be bolstered if Barca were to win La Liga, thereby potentially winning the double, or treble if the Catalans can beat Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final.
On the hand, Madrid’s defeat could mean the end of Carlo Ancelotti’s reign as Coach. Not since 1983 has a trainer kept his job at the Bernabeu while presiding over a trophyless season. Furthermore, club President Florentino Perez will look to the transfer market for a marquee signing, eager to wash away the stain of a winless season – especially if Barcelona win the Champions League.
Defeat to Juventus has already meant scapegoats, mainly Gareth Bale, who was once more abused by fans when leaving the stadium after the game. The Welshman has succumbed to the effects of second-season syndrome, with the euphoria of his debut campaign now seeming a long time ago.
But it could be argued even if Madrid had won their 11th European Cup, Ancelotti’s future wouldn't be entirely safe. Vicente del Bosque was sacked by Perez the day after winning the League in 2003, though if they had defeated Barcelona in the final it would have given Ancelotti significant leverage, perhaps enough to make Perez think twice before sacking a the man who won La Decima.
Alas, both teams will experience contrasting ends to the season as one club could have a new Coach at the end of the summer and the other a new President.