The newly promoted side were left pinching themselves after ending a 30-year wait to beat – and outplay – the champions

The plane was miles above above Spain heading south, it was dark outside and they were still some way from home when an urgent announcement came from the flight deck. “I’m from Cádiz,” the co-pilot informed them over the loud speaker, “and I just wanted to say congratulations because today you did something historic that will be remembered for ever.” It was late and the passengers – the first Cádiz team to play in primera for 15 years – were exhausted but they began to applaud. From down the cabin, a few chanted his name. “Rufiano! Rufiano!” they sang, the noise level briefly rising again, songs starting once more.

Rufiano was right. Cádiz’s manager, Álvaro Cervera, was wrong: he was wrong before the game and wrong halfway through it too but by the end he was beaming, engulfed in an embrace so tight he could barely breathe, celebrating like they had won something, which they absolutely had. On the eve of his team’s visit to Real Madrid, he had said: “You can forget about being better than them.” ASt half-time, with his team a goal up, he feared the lead would soon be gone, admitting afterwards that all he could think was: “We’ll lose this.” Now he was leaping about, delighted that neither turned out to be true.

It wasn’t just that newly promoted Cádiz defeated Real Madrid 1-0 on Saturday, Choco Lozano getting the goal; it was that they deserved to. It was that Cádiz’s midfielder Alex Fernández insisted “if we’d scored more in the first half, it would have been no surprise” and Zinedine Zidane and his players agreed. “If they had got two or three more, we couldn’t haven’t said anything,” the Real Madrid manager said. Thibaut Courtois admitted “they were better than us in every way and they beat us in everything”. Continue reading

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