It was the 10th minute, Vicente Calderón was holding his breath. Saúl grabbed a ball and sewed it to his boot to run with it and knock down rivals in his path like someone who takes lint off his shoulder. First Xabi Alonso, then Bernat, later Alaba, when he was already in the area and kicking with the left. When the ball landed in the net as it passed he had taken a ghost that weighed in the old rojiblanco stadium as Lisbon would later do: the goal Schwarzenbeck one minute from that final of the Champions League in Brussels that snatched the European Cup that was already cradled, 1-1, tiebreaker match, 4-0 for the Germans who did not meet again with Atlético until tonight, the one of April 27, 2016. It was the first leg of the semifinals of that Champions League that ended in Milan and Saúl’s goal helped the rojiblancos take a first step and end that ghost. Schwarzenbeck. A particular legend began: that of Saul himself who knows nothing of current goals. If he had already shown proof of this in the 4-0 of Real Madrid on February 7, 2015, with the 2-0 of a fabulous Chilean, her words would later be prescient. “This goal gives me status in the locker room.” The night of Bayern would add a nuance that would define him later: Saúl would not only know of spectacular and important goals, these would always serve to boost Atlético, goals open matches.It happened again in Eindhoven, Leverkusen, just three months ago, before the coronavirus stopped it all, against Liverpool in the first leg of the round of 16. When Atlético needed it most, his boot appeared again, to push the ball in a corner launched by Koke and pave the way for Atlético towards the quarters against the reigning European champion.
- Four years have passed since Saúl’s goal against Bayern in the Champions League