After 11 years of trying and failing to claim La Decima, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said players and fans may be a bit preoccupied with reaching the milestone.
In his annual Christmas message, Perez acknowledged that there is pressure to claim a record 10th European Cup victory.
“All Madridistas want to win titles,” he said. “Maybe we’re a little obsessed with La Decima, but that is because it is the title we want the most.”
Los Blancos currently hold a record nine combined European Cup and Champions League trophies, the last one coming in 2002 against German side Bayer Leverkusen on a legendary winner by Zinedine Zidane. They have not progressed to the final since that victory, and they have sputtered in the semifinals in each of the past three years.
In 2012, Madrid fell in a penalty shootout to eventual runners up and 2013 champions Bayern Munich, and the next year, Los Merengues could not mount enough of a comeback in the second leg and fell 4-3 on aggregate to Borussia Dortmund.
Former manager Jose Mourinho was brought in with an eye on his Champions League record, but he was unable to succeed, and current manager Carlo Ancelotti will hope to surpass his predecessor.
Ancelotti’s first Champions League campaign for Madrid begun well enough, as the team qualified with the most goals as a unit — and an individual group stage goalscoring record from Cristiano Ronaldo.
They will meet yet another German side in Schalke 04 in the round of 16 hoping to produce a better result than against Bundesliga teams in recent years.