In terms of experience at the top level of European football, there are few in the history of the gamer that can match this Real Madrid team. Their ability to get the job done in the Champions League is extraordinary, regularly overcoming more fancied opposition.
Much of that is down to their own talent, as well as the mentality within the group.
It's also fair to say that they are ruthless in targeting perceived weaknesses in the opposition. In tonight's Champions League semi-final first leg, it was clear they were given the goal of rattling Jack Grealish.
The Englishman has little experience at this level, having been a bit part player during his first season at the Etihad. While he has been in excellent form in recent months, they were quite obviously testing his mettle in the Spanish capital tonight.
Right from the first few minutes, Dani Carvajal was conceding little quarter to the winger. He put in a couple of hefty challenges on Grealish, both of which could have in truth earned him a yellow card.
Next up was a trip into the advertising hoardings, with Grealish being shoved in the back and out across the end line despite the Spaniard having no chance of getting the ball.
Dani Carvajal vs Jack Grealish. 👀🍿 pic.twitter.com/0BL7Ctd2Ku
— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) May 9, 2023
After Grealish made his feelings known, Carvajal would throw himself onto the ground to frustrate him even further.
Jack Grealish trying to play the dark art of football with Carvajal is hilarious, a Spaniard who literally invented the dark art #RMAMCI pic.twitter.com/TwXBK5hCtw
— H (@OrangeMentosSzn) May 9, 2023
It was certainly a case of 'welcome to the Bernabeu'.
However, it didn't go well in some quarters.
Some people outraged by treatment of Jack Grealish at Real Madrid
The targeting of Jack Grealish was not welcomed by some.
Quite a few England and Manchester City fans shared their fury at the way the referee allowed him to be treated.
Dani Carvajal lucky still to be on. Had already fouled Grealish twice, hacked down Gundogan, then sent Grealish flying into hoardings, so dangerous, then milked Grealish's response. #RMAMCI
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) May 9, 2023
Carvajal deserved a yellow for the foul on Grealish, and a second yellow and an Oscar for the dive. Needless to say, he got nothing
— Simon Bajkowski (@spbajko) May 9, 2023
[45+1'] Another Dani Carvajal foul. NO PUNISHMENT. Shocking refereeing from Artur Dias, who warns Jack Grealish to stop. This competition though, no surprises. 1-0. #UCL
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) May 9, 2023
Real Madrid have committed a total of eight fouls in the first-half vs #ManCity, four of which were from Dani Carvajal. One yellow card. #UCL
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) May 9, 2023
Dani Carvajal not being booked for that is insanity.
— Matkafee (@matkafee) May 9, 2023
Carvajal slams Jack Grealish into the boards like it’s Wrestlemania and then complains when Jack throws a hand is way and falls to the ground what an absolute weirdo
— Ryan (@bernardooooV3) May 9, 2023
This Ref sucks. Carvajal has done whatever he’s liked against Grealish and not a single card has been shown.
Rudiger should’ve been carded for that foul on Gundogan. One card has been shown out of a lot of dirty ass plays. Sick of it.
— ♛Sauce♛ (@Sauce_Monstar) May 9, 2023
Dani Carvajal who should have been sent off already, has just committed another foul without receiving a yellow card.
— TRA. (@RoseMCFC) May 9, 2023
carvajal anytime grealish get ball ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/XHr4gHVDeW
— Al nassr (@ken_meek1) May 9, 2023
Carvajal every time Grealish touches the ball � pic.twitter.com/OmtNy66zjw
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) May 9, 2023
It largely seemed to work. While the game would finish in a 1-1 draw, Jack Grealish had little impact on the game.
You'd imagine Real Madrid will be repeating that trick in what is sure to be finely balanced second leg next week.