It should have been harder than the 3-0 Real Madrid finished with against Galatasaray, but these are the true differences between the Spanish champions and those from Turkey. When you have Cristiano Ronaldo, backed up by the likes of Mesut Ozil, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain, it shouldn’t be a surprise.

The last man standing, laughing? Jose Mourinho. What seemed like his final season with the team is turning out to be quite a triumphant finish, and maybe just another chapter in what will be a long tenure with Real Madrid, if he can back up his big words and arrogant behavior with the 10th title Real Madrid fans are waiting for, and the third for him, with a third different club, making him special, more than anyone else in the business.

His players? Once again they proved that they bring their best to when it matters the most. A Champions league first leg at home – a match Real Madrid had to win big in order to avoid complications heading into the second meeting in Istanbul. Again, Cristiano Ronaldo is just the creme de la creme, but the real power of Madrid’s success this season in the important moments has been the ability of Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso and others to bring out their best. Gala might not be the strongest of opponents compared to the rest of the field, but there are no weaklings in the final 8.

Real Madrid might not be the favorites to win the Champions League, with Barcelona, Dortmund and Bayern Munich still in the competition, but they are the first team to make it clear they’ll be part of the semifinal.