Dani Carvajal could barely find the words as he stood at the side of the Bernabéu pitch and admitted it was the “worst night” of his career. The 4-1 defeat that eliminated Real Madrid from the Champions League followed two losses in a week to Barcelona. Three days after Madrid were in effect knocked out of the title race and seven days after they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey, Carvajal watched as Ajax’s players celebrated behind him, an era coming to an end.
“I have never had this feeling before,” the full-back said. “I don’t know how to explain it. It’s so bad. In a week we lost it all, we lost it all at home. Is it the end of an era? I don’t see it like that but it is true the season is practically finished for us.
“We have to be professional, we have to stand up, we can’t hide, we know we have had a shit season and that’s it.” After Carvajal had delivered his judgment, he walked off, tears welling up.
When Santi Solari appeared before the media an hour later, the Real Madrid manager excused Carvajal’s reaction but admitted: “We’re sad, we’re pissed off, we did all we could, but it was not enough.”
He refused to be drawn on suggestions he might be dismissed immediately and insisted he would not walk away, but he knows there is little left for Madrid now. He also knows the very best he can hope for is to see out the season and be sacked in the summer.
“I did not take over at Real Madrid at a difficult time in order to give up,” Solari said. “Madrid is greater than all of us, players, managers, everyone. And it always comes back. It always comes back stronger, too. The season continues. We have to be professional.
“We have a league game at the weekend and we all have the obligation to work. That’s a professional duty; we have to show heart, the heart that we owe to this team, to come and train tomorrow and do our best. Easy moments are easy for everyone, you can climb up and surf them, but difficult moments you have to show bravery.”