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Champions League

Champions League Final a few late thoughts

  • Real Madrid continue to make history
  • They become the first team to retain the trophy since the competition moved into the Champions League era
  • While also becoming the first team since A.C. Milan back in 1989 to 1990 to win successive editions of the competition
  • It is victory number 12 for Los Blancos and three wins of this competition in the past four seasons
  • Their record in the Champions League has always impressive but as of the past years it has been simply phenomenal
  • That is exactly what they were on Saturday night as they blew Juventus away
  • For the Old Lady it is once again a case of being the bridesmaid and not the bride
  • That is a 6th final defeat from 7 attempts
  • While conversely Real Madrid have a 100% record from the 6 Champions League finals that they have appeared in
  • Cristiano Ronaldo will take the plaudits and rightfully so, his brace of goals makes him the highest scorer in regards to Champions League finals
  • And the third highest scorer across both guises of the competition, only being beaten the legendary Alfredo De Stefano and Ferenc Puskas
  • The game though was won in midfield as Real’s imperious tandem of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos dominated proceedings throughout
  • Real’s midfield diamond meant that they always had a man spare in the centre of the park as Juventus opted for their usual five at the back
  • Juventus would have had the hope that their Brazilian wing backs Dani Alves and Alex Sandro could really stretch Real Madrid
  • The only problem was they were pinned back by the marauding runs of Dani Carvajal and Marcelo
  • That in turn nullified the threat that they so usually offer and gave Real a lot more freedom out of wide
  • Freedom that they would fully utilise for their opening goal
  • Carvajal was in acres of space in the final third and he found Cristiano Ronaldo with a near criminal amount of freedom
  • The inch perfect cut back to Ronaldo meant there was only going to be one outcome, that of course being the game’s opening goal.
  • Gianluigi Buffon’s outstretched glove could not close to the ball as it fizzed past him and whisper it quietly but we are just perhaps seeing father time catch up with the legendary Italian goalkeeper
  • You wouldn’t necessarily aportion blame to him for either of Real Madrid’s first two strikes but had he a few more years on his side then perhaps one if not both of those goals would be kept out
  • It was a night of stunning goals mind though and Mario Mandzukic’s was easily the pick of the bunch
  • A build up involving four players saw the ball not even touch the ground
  • A crossfield ball saw Alex Sandro in a very rare attacking foray, he crossed the ball into the box
  • A ball which found Gonzalo Higuain, the Argentine teed the ball up for his Croatian strike partner and with his back turning away from goal the former Bayern forward looped the ball over the helpless Kaylor Navas
  • 1-1 and it was very much game on
  • But it was a situation that Juventus could not build on especially after the break
  • If Mandzukic’s goal was incredible then Casemiro’s effort was not all that bad either
  • There was more fortune attached to this one but his rocket launcher from fully 30 yards or so left Buffon picking the ball out of the net for the second time of the evening
  • The advantage was again with Zinedine Zidane’s men and it would be one they would drive home just a couple of minutes later
  • With Juventus shellshocked by Casemiro’s fizzer they were caught napping
  • It was very unlike the “BBC” but they allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to ghost in at the near post and make it 3-1 it was as good as game over with Juventus once again set for final misery
  • The night would get worse as Juan Cuadrado was set off in farcical circumstances, already on a yellow card the Colombian had a coming together with Sergio Ramos
  • One that was incredibly innocuous, although not where Ramos was concerned
  • The World Cup winner went down as if he had been shot and that was enough to convince the referee to show Cuadrado a second yellow
  • Considering he had only come on as a substitute it was very much a night to forget for the former Chelsea man
  • Also coming on as a substitute was Gareth Bale, he was afforded a handful of minutes towards the end as he received a homecoming of sorts
  • Before the game some felt that this could very well be his last performance in the white of Madrid but after the game he went on record to commit his future to staying at the Bernabeu
  • Bad news for Manchester United fans as they will have to focus their attention elsewhere
  • With the clock winding down and the game petering out there was still time for Real Madrid to hammer home their numerical advantage on the pitch
  • Marco Asensio who scored in the European Super Cup at the start of the season would book end the campaign by scoring in injury time and rounding off an emphatic win for the holders
  • Juventus were simply outclassed on the night and there can only disappointment in regards to their performance
  • They purchased Gonzalo Higuain to win the Champions League but bar the tee up for Mandzukic’s goal he was pretty much non existent
  • Italian dominance is all very well but they have to work out how to get over the line when it comes to showpiece finals such as this
  • Now there is a summer break and the question of who will be added to an already glittering Galacticos squad
  • Although that said we are only a couple of months away from Real Madrid going face to face with Manchester United in the 2017 European Super Cup
  • That will not only be a mouthwatering clash but it will also see Jose Mourinho go up against one of his former employers
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