In the 2010/11 season, Tottenham fans will look back fondly on their Champions League campaign before their quarter-final tie is brought up against Real Madrid, that is.
A last-16 victory over seven-time champions AC Milan was followed by a memorable success against Inter Milan that saw Gareth Bale come of age. But as Real Madrid inflicted a 4-0 loss on Harry Redknapp’s side in the first leg of their quarter-final tie, the dreaming Spurs fans were taken straight back to reality.
In addition to goals from Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo, and Emmanuel Adebayor brace put the tie to bed with the Spanish giants, winning the second leg 1-0 at White Hart Lane.
After just four minutes at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid took the lead, but the course of the tie changed ten minutes later when Spurs fell to ten men as Peter Crouch picked up two yellow quick-fire cards.
The first was for a challenge on Sergio Ramos-Crouch admitting he was too ‘excitable’ himself, but with his second yellow, the former striker takes a huge problem.
He told the podcast of Everton Power’s From the Horses Mouth: “The dressing room is under the stadium and there are fan levels and you can hear them. I’m sitting with a towel over my head in the dressing room, hearing goal after goal going in after goal and I’m thinking:’ That’s down to me.’ This has been a low point and a deep regret. When it comes to cards, however, I do have a little excuse. The first one was that I was excitable, so I should send that to the referee. It was a Sergio Ramos tackle.
I went to block a ball down the line from Marcelo for the second one and I dived in a little, but I didn’t hit him. He jumped up and rolled around in the air, and there’s an angle in the frame where you can see that he’s smiling at the referee and he’s celebrating as the red card comes out and jumps back up.”
Crouch later admitted that what got on his nerves was Marcelo’s reaction.
International England said he wanted to hold back himself from getting himself into even greater trouble.
He added: “All my life, I have never wanted to punch someone else!” That was perceived as a victory for them. They won the match and they played with me. I was foolish to let that get me swept up in it.”