By Samindra Kunti in Cardiff
June 4 – Real Madrid were crowned European champions for a 12th time after comprehensively defeating Juventus 4-1 in the Champions League final. Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice for Madrid to retain their European title, a historic feat.
In a clash of European grandees the Italians champions began with zest and energy. They hustled, but didn’t score. In the 20th minute Madrid did and, inevitably it was Ronaldo that delivered the lead. Juventus equalised nine minutes later with a majestic and acrobatic bicycle kick from Mario Mandzukic.
The match defied the blueprint of traditional finals when stifling football so often prevails. This final was end-to-end, in particular in the first half with the teams evenly balanced, playing at great intensity. Half-time arrived with no further goals.
After the interval Zinedine Zidane and his team took command. Isco and Luka Modric altered their position to exert more influence over the game. Real Madrid pushed the accelerator and the Spanish champions bossed the game.
Casemiro struck with a deflected shot from which Gianluca Buffon, Juventus’ evergreen keeper, should have done better. In the 64th minute Ronaldo, who often was peripheral in the game in his role of center forward, decided the match when he popped up in the box to score from Modric’s assist.
It was almost rude when Ascensio scored a fourth goal after another rapier attack. Madrid radiated a pleasant brutality and aggression in their utter superiority. They had been ruthless in their application in the second stanza.
After delivering a masterclass the Merengue team were crowned kings of Europe yet again. They didn’t crack under pressure and reaffirmed their status as Europe’s sole superpower.
“No one did it [defending the Champions League] and we did it so you can say today is a truly historic day for all Madrid fans, for myself, for the whole [Madrid] family,” said Zidane, enjoying the moment. “But you know how things are. Next year it’s going to be even more difficult and we are going to have to work very hard to be able to win once again.”
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