The secret of Real’s success: Ancelotti, Benzema, or just luck?

Real Madrid is tonight for the seventeenth time in the final of the Champions League, formerly the European Cup I. A tournament that the Royal has won no fewer than thirteen times. But never before has a final place for Real come so unexpectedly.

Everything indicated that it would be a gap year for Real, with a worn out, saturated roster full of thirty-somethings, hardly any money to invest and a coach brought in as a stopgap. And then take out Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City and face Liverpool in the final.

What is the secret of Real Madrid’s success? Top scorer Karim Benzema, the excelling goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois or the hand of the chastened coach Carlo Ancelotti?

“Here in Madrid, everyone is talking about the miracle of Real and the magic of the Bernabéu,” said Diego Torres, sports journalist for El País. “But to be honest, they have been very lucky. Real is a strong institution, with a good selection and a great trainer, but actually accidentally reach the final.”