On April 19 some 20 years ago, Real Madrid enjoyed one of their most glorious nights in the Champions League as they travelled to Old Trafford to take on holders Manchester United in the quarter-final.
Los Blancos had secured a 0-0 draw in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu and required a score draw or away win to progress.
“Few people were betting on us,” recalled Savio, who started the game that ended with a 3-2 win thanks to Fernando Redondo‘s backheel.
“One hundred years will pass and that move and that match will still be remembered.”
It was the 52nd minute of the match and Real Madrid were leading 2-0 thanks to a Roy Keane own goal and a strike from Raul.
“It was an exhibition, a perfect match tactically, physically and technically,” recalled the Brazilian winger.
The best moment came as Redondo, with his ability to break down the lines with his one-on-one skills, broke down the left flank and before reaching the corner, he beat Henning Berg with a sublime and unexpected back-heeled dribble.
He arrived at the touchline and after taking a breath and freezing time, a pass to Raul was pulled out of his sleeve so that the number seven could score into an empty net.
“For me the best thing about the goal is not the backheel, really, but the pass to Raul, the calmness to look up and wait for the moment,” Redondo recalled at a LaLiga event.
“It’s a very nice goal, yes, a move you don’t forget.”
Fernando Hierro, who was unable to play that game due to injury, remembers the moment as if he had experienced it on the same pitch at the Theatre of Dreams.
“People talk about the backheel, but what I like most is the understanding with Raul and the pause and the pass he gives to leave him alone to score,” Hierro explained.
“The fact that while playing that game, a midfielder has the nerve to hold on and pass is impressive. It’s a great play.”
Raul‘s two goals made the headlines at Old Trafford, but over the years it is Redondo‘s performance and the Argentinian’s imposing display that have stayed in the minds of both the fans and the players who took part in that tie.
Vicente del Bosque, who had been in charge of the team for four months, will never forget it.
“Redondo is surely the player with the biggest personality we’ve ever had, he was the team’s thermometer,” del Bosque joked, looking back.
“He was an inspiring player for us, he influenced the team’s play a lot and liked to play alone in the middle, he was capable of that.
“In fact, Redondo played more alone in midfield that day than ever before.”