Real Madrid are “the best team of this generation” and could go all the way in the Champions League again this season, according to former European champion Mario Gomez.
Madrid claimed their 14th European crown in incredible fashion last term, overcoming Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in a series of dramatic knockout ties.
Having reached the final despite losing a game in the last 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals, Los Blancos captured their fifth Champions League title in nine seasons by beating Liverpool 1-0 in Paris.
As Carlo Ancelotti’s men prepare to face City in a repeat of last year’s semi-final tie, former Bayern Munich striker Gomez described them as the “true beast” of Europe’s premier club competition.
“With Real Madrid, over the last 10 years, how many times have we thought, ‘it is over for them’, and they just come back every time,” Gomez said in an interview with the Go Turkiye YouTube channel.
“They are the true beast of the Champions League, absolutely unbelievable.
“Since I was very little, I have been a Barcelona supporter, but I really enjoy this Real Madrid side.
“They believe until the last second, so, for me they are the best team of this generation.
“For that reason, I think that they will go really far. I don’t know if they will win it, because football is unpredictable, but they can reach the final.”
Turkey striker Cenk Tosun was speaking alongside Gomez, and having worked with Ancelotti during a stint in the Premier League with Everton, he believes the Italian could be set for more glory in Istanbul next month.
“It is always a special event to have the Champions League final here in Turkey,” Tosun said. “Of course, Real Madrid is the winner of last season and a clear favourite.
“They have the same manager as last year, Mr. Ancelotti. I worked with him at Everton and I really like him, he is a special person for me, so I would pick Real Madrid to win it.”
Gomez appeared as a substitute as Bayern beat Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final, as part of a memorable treble won by Jupp Heynckes’ team.
Reflecting on that win, Gomez said: “It was one of the most beautiful days in my life, because we were in the final one year before against Chelsea, and we lost [on penalties].
“To this day nobody knows how we lost that game. In 2012-13 we really had the power and energy to show people that it was our year, it was our time.
“The final wasn’t that good. Dortmund were as strong as us, if not better, but in the end, we got the trophy. When we got handed the trophy and lifted it in front of the fans, it was amazing.
“The four years I spent there were just incredible. There were so many special players in that team.
“I’ll start with the two wingers. They were the stars and I was just the finisher. On the left-hand side we had Franck Ribery.
“On the other wing, Arjen Robben. Totally different from Franck. He always wanted to finish.
“With Arjen I always had to predict the keeper’s movement, and if they saved his shot, I was there for the rebound. I scored many goals liked that!”