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$350 million for what?
March 11th, 2010 12AM

TAGS:  france, spain, uefa champions league


[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Make that six years in a row Real Madrid has exited the Champions League in the round of 16. Lyon added to Real's misery, holding the Spanish club to a 1-1 tie in Madrid and going through to the quarterfinals, 2-1, on aggregate.

The result is huge for Lyon, France's richest club with a history of disappointing in Europe.

The hero was Miralem Pjalic, the young Bosnian international by way of Luxembourg, who equalized in the 75th minute.

Cristiano Ronaldo gave Real the lead in the sixth minute, but that was it for Real.

Franco-Argentine Gonzalo Higuain missed three golden opportunities for Real to go ahead on aggregate in the first half. On the first, Higuain hit the post. On the second, Lyon goalie Hugo Lloris stopped him. And on the third, he missed the target.

Real's elimination will put immense pressure on Coach Manuel Pellegrini. After the game, there were already calls for the Chilean's resignation. Real spent $350 million on signing Ronaldo and Kaka, among others.

Real's exit means it won't be around for the May 22 final -- the first Saturday final, to be televised on Fox -- at the Bernabeu Stadium.

"The first person responsible is the coach," said Pellegrini. "My future depends on the board and the only thing I can do is continue working like I have been doing. Getting to the final was the ambition of everyone here so the elimination is very painful."

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