The heroes of the match are generally from Uzbekistan, Luxembourg and Mali.
Yesterday at the "Santiago Bernabeu" Moldovan "Sheriff" performed the main miracle of this Champions League so far.
The boys from Tiraspol (although there was not a single Moldovan on the field), who were gathered here in a year from the championships of Greece, Colombia, Slovakia, Serie B and even from Tambov, beat Real (2: 1).
Let's take a closer look at Sheriff's squad and try to understand how to put together a modest squad from free agents and leases that Madrid can handle.
By the way, Moldova is the country where I was born and raised, and the pride for this match goes beyond any limit.
Goalkeeper Georgios Athanasiadis, 28 years old, Greece
Moved to Sheriff three months ago. Georgios was rented from the Greek AEK.
Athanasiadis is a pretty average Greek goalkeeper. He played at the base of the middle peasants of the Greek championship "Pantrakikos" and "Asteras", but at 26 he chose the AEK bench, where he played 20 matches in two years. Somehow after 0: 3 from Olympiacos, AEK coach Manolo Jimenez changed the goalkeeper. Georgios did not miss - and so he played the season to the end.
Athanasiadis is the only footballer with experience of playing in the group of European cups outside Sheriff. In the 2020/21 season, he played in a home match against Zorya (AEK was then coached by Massimo Carrera), conceded three goals and did not play again under Carrera.
Georgios is the main goalkeeper at Sheriff. He played in all qualifying and group stage matches of the Champions League, but in the Championship of Moldova - only three out of eight. Instead of him, they release substitutes: Serb Dusan Markovic and Moldovan Dumitru Celeadnic.
Left-back Cristiano, 28, Brazil. In the match with Real Madrid - an assist to Yakhshibaev
For many years, Cristiano has been running around weak Brazilian teams, the most significant being Crisiuma from the second league.
In 2017, even before the limit on foreign players in Moldova was canceled, Cristiano moved from the Brazilian Serie C club Volta Redonda to Sheriff.
For four years, Cristiano has not missed a single match in the selection of European cups and even played against Lokomotiv in the 2017/18 Europa League.
Now Cristiano is the most experienced player of “Sheriff”, 97 matches in the championship of Moldova. He consistently occupies the left flank of the defense and only at the beginning of this season sometimes comes out from the right.
Center-back Gustavo Dulanto, 26, Peru
Mov ed to Sheriff eight months ago from Boavista free of charge.
Dulanto started in Peru, but from 16 he played at the school of the Argentinean Rosario. Then another five years in the Peruvian championship, during which Dulanto won nothing and was not called up to the national team. At 24 Gustavo called Boavista. He adapted for a long time and spent only 11 matches in a season and a half. He was released from Portugal free of charge.
In “Sheriff” Dulanto quickly became important and already in the eighth match in Moldova played with the captain's armband.
Center-back Danilo Arboleda, 26, Colombia
Moved to Sheriff eight months ago free of charge from Colombian Deportivo Pasto.
Danilo is the champion of Colombia. True, his contribution to the victory is very modest. He came twice as a substitute for Deportivo Cali at age 20.
Right-back Fernando Costanza, 22, Brazil
Moved to Sheriff eight months ago free of charge from Botafogo.
Fernando is a graduate of Botafogo, has been with the club since the age of 16, but played a little for the base. In 2018, Costanza was sent on loan to Lille, but the Brazilian played only for the double and returned home six months later.
Costanza had a tight 2019 season, but did not play the next one at all. In February 2021, Botafogo released him free of charge. Now Fernando is Sheriff's best right-back.
Central midfielder Edmund Addo, 21, Ghana
Moved to Sheriff two months ago from the Slovak Senica.
Addo started at the Mighty Cosmos Academy in Ghana, at 18 he moved to Senica (the middle peasant of the Slovakian championship), where he played for two and a half years alongside the future Sheriff leader Frank Castaneda, scored three goals in 53 matches, and in July - In 2021, he himself moved to Moldova.
Central midfielder Sebastian Thill, 27, Luxembourg. In the match with Real Madrid - the winning goal
Moved to Sheriff eight months ago on loan from Progres, Luxembourg.
Sebastian Thill, like his brothers Olivier and Vincent, is the star of Luxembourgish football. All three play for the national team and started at the local Progres, for which their father Serge Till played and coached.
The youngest - Vincent - was considered the most talented, at 15 he moved to the Metz academy, at 16 he made his debut for the national team and even spent 34 minutes in Ligue 1, and now - in Vorskla.
Olivier, the middle brother, played for two years in the Luxembourg championship and moved to Ufa after the Europa League qualifier. He played for two years (1 + 5 in 56 matches), and now he is dragging the same Vorskla.
Older brother Sebastian Thill played the longest in the Luxembourg championship (48 + 57 in 225 games). Only at 26 did he leave for Europe, on loan to Tambov in the fall of 2020. In Russia, Sebastian played seven matches, and then, along with the club's money, the loan ended. So Till ended up at Sheriff.
Attacking midfielder Dimitris Kolovos, 28, Greece
Moved to Sheriff a year ago from Panathinaikos (first on loan, in July 2021 - permanently as a free agent).
Dimitris seems to have the brightest background. He played in the Greek “Panionios” and “Olympiacos” (he even took the championship with him), stopped by the Dutch “Willem” for the season and dragged the modest “Mechelen” to the fifth place in the Belgian championship. Crosses prevented a successful career. After them, Kolovos never returned to his previous level and left for Cyprus.
He spent only six months in Cyprus - Panathinaikos came. During this period, Dimitris was even called to the Greek national team, which, however, lost to everyone except Liechtenstein and Bosnia.
Now Kolovos is the star of the Moldova Championship. Last season he had 10 + 9 in 22 matches, this season - 2 + 1 in 4 rounds.
Right midfielder Adama Traore, 26, Mali. In the match with Real Madrid - an assist to Till
Moved to Sheriff eight months ago from Metz.
Adama is one of the leaders of the Mali national team. Almost never misses her matches, even scored against Mauritania at the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
In 2018, the Malian was taken to Metz from the Congolese (DRC) Mazembe. The transfer turned out to be a failure: Traore played for the French club only four times. It was bad even on loan in Saudi Arabia: 1 goal in 15 matches for the worst team in the league.
Adama rehabilitated himself in the Moldova Championship: 10 + 7 in 21 matches and a breakthrough in the Champions League. Traore scored two for Albanian Teuta, two for Dynamo Zagreb in qualifying and the winning goal for Shakhtar in the group.
In the match with Real Madrid, Traore assists Till.
Left Midfield Frank Castaneda, 27, Colombia
Moved to Sheriff a year and a half ago from the Slovak Senica.
Castaneda is the captain of Sheriff, the top scorer in the current squad (31 goals in 43 games) and the most expensive player: € 1 million according to Transfermarkt.
Frank started at Orsomarso in the second Colombian league. Weak: four goals in a year and a half. But Castaneda was noticed in Slovakia and called to rescue "Senica" from departure.
Castaneda scored five goals in five matches, still saved Senica and stayed in Slovakia. A year and a half later, "Sheriff" took him. Castaneda is a superstar here, 28 + 14 in 35 league games.
At the group stage of the Champions League so far without effective action. But he scored in the selection against Crvena Zvezda and Teuta.
Forward Zhasur Yakhshiboev, 24 years old, Uzbekistan. In the match with Real Madrid - goal
Moved to Sheriff a month ago from Legia on loan.
Zhasur is a real reinforcement of “Sheriff” before the group of the Champions League. He was taken on August 29 from Legia, where he did not play at all.
Yakhshiboev flashed in the Belarusian championship: 9 goals in 14 matches for Energetik-BSU and 7 goals in 13 matches for Shakhtar Soligorsk + championship gold. From there, the Uzbek was taken to Poland, but it did not work there, Jasur spent half a season on a bench under Rafa Lopez and Tomasz Pekhart.
Now Yakhshiboev is Sheriff's main forward in the Champions League, it was he who scored the first goal against Real Madrid. Yakhshiboev is generally the second Uzbek to score in the Champions League, the first is Maksim Shatskikh, in 2006 he scored against Real Madrid for Dynamo Kiev (2: 2).
Right midfielder Bruno Sousa, 27, Brazil
Moved to Sheriff a month ago from the Greek Aris.
Bruno shone in the second Austrian league five years ago. His "Austria Lustenau" kept in the top three, but never made it to the tower, but the Brazilian made it through - he was taken by LASK, who took first place in the second league.
Six months later, Bruno went on loan to Greece. After two good seasons at Atromitos (3 + 6 in 38 league appearances and two fourth places), he has grown to the Olympiacos reserve (he even won the championship and the Greek Cup with him). True, due to the coronavirus and quarantine, Bruno missed the entire group stage of the Champions League 2020/21, spent half a season at Aris and went to Tiraspol for the Champions League group.
Left-back Keston Julien, 22, Trinidad and Tobago
Moved to Sheriff a year ago from Trencin Slovakia.
Keston has been playing in the Slovak Championship since the age of 18. A mystery how "Trencin" found someone in the Trinidad and Tobago championship.
Julien started as a substitute, but gradually joined the base and even looked into European cups: Trencin constantly plays in the Europa League qualifiers, and in the 2018/19 season almost reached the group stage (Feyenoord passed, but stumbled over the Cypriot AEK)
Central midfielder Boban Nikolov, 27, North Macedonia
Moved to Sheriff a month ago from the Italian Lecce.
Boban is the only Sheriff player with experience in a major national team tournament. This summer, he appeared in all three UEFA Euro 2020 matches with North Macedonia. Of course, Nikolov is not a star of the level of Pandev or Elmaz, but he plays consistently in the national team. And he could even climb into the top 5 leagues.
In January 2021, Lecce bought Nikolov from the Hungarian Fehervar. The Macedonian fought for the return of Lecce to Serie A and was very close: in the playoffs, on aggregate, they lost to Venice. In the summer Nikolov moved to Sheriff for free.
He is no stranger to small leagues: Boban has already won championships in North Macedonia and Hungary. It looks like there are titles ahead in Moldova.