The 2017 Champions League trophy will remain in Spain after a man of the match performance from Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid to overcame a spirited Juventus 4-1, and obtain their 12th title in the competition.
Ronaldo’s first came 20 minutes in, finishing off a move with a shot into the bottom corner, the second was a low close range effort, his 600th professional goal, which came three minutes after the Brazilian had put Real back in the lead with a 30-yard strike.
Mario Mandzukic did have the whole stadium on its feet after he lobbed Keylor Navas with a briliant overhead kick from 12 yards to level the game just before the half hour. Marco Asensio bagged Real Madrid’s fourth 91 minutes in.
As a result, Real become the first side since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990 to successfully retain the Champions League, and it is the first time since 1958, Real Madrid have won La Liga and the European Cup in the same season.
Spurred on by a roaring Bianconeri support, Juventus raced out of the blocks and instantly put Keylor Navas under pressure with a flurry of stinging shots. Miralem Pjanic, and Gonzalo Higuain both pulling excellent stops from the Real Madrid goalkeeper.
Slowly, Real Madrid got a foothold in the match with Isco looking to control play by dropping deep to collect the ball. But it was a lovely flowing move started by Toni Kroos which opened the scoring for Los Blancos.
Kroos fed a short ball to Karim Benzema, who then found Ronaldo. The Portuguese’s lovely one-two with Daniel Carvajal got the ball just inside the penalty area and the Real Madrid star fired into the bottom corner, with help from a slight nick on Leonardo Bonucci.
From there, the game took more of a frantic feel with both sides trading equal blows.
Then the fans inside the National Stadium of Wales, and millions watching at home, were treated to one of the truly great Champions League goals from Mandzukic.
A crossfield ball by Pjanic, was volleyed into the box by Alex Sandro, Gonzalo Higuain chested it into the direction of Mandzukic who took a touch then overhead kicked a looping shot over a stranded Navas. The ball never touched the ground.
Not to be outdone, Ronaldo tried overhead kick of his own but it was tame and easily blocked. A diving header followed but that went in the direction of the corner flag.
Real Madrid started the second have just as Juventus did the first, and Luka Modric tested Gianluigi Buffon with a thunderous drive from 20 yards.
Relentless, Los Blancos had Juventus pinned in their half and Marcelo fed a beautiful cross to Ronaldo at the back post, but he was unable to touch it into the net.
However, on the hour Casemiro hit a thunderous shot from 30 yards out which took a wicked deflection off Sami Khedira and rolled past Buffon.
A quick fire double was on the way as Ronaldo smashed in a Carvajal cross at the near post to put the game beyond Juventus.
From there, Juventus looked defeated and Real worked the ball well through defence and midfield.
Juventus did have a good chance with Alex Sandro flashing a header wide from a Dani Alves freekick. Their first shot on goal in the second half.
Things went from bad to worse for the Serie A champions as Juan Cuadrado was given his marching order for two yellow card. The second came as he appeared to shove Sergio Ramos, though the Real captain made a meal of the situation.
To cap things off Asensio tapped him from close range to secure another trophy for the Spanish side.
- Juventus have lost seven of their nine European Cup/Champions League finals, including each of the last five.
- The Bianconeri have scored only 5 goals in their 9 European Cup/Champions League finals.
- Juventus had just one shot in the second half – by Alex Sandro at minute 82, off target.
- Tonight Juventus conceded one goal more than in the rest of the campaign.
- After tonight’s brace, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored his 600th goal in his professional career (club and country).
- Cristiano Ronaldo is the 1st player to score a brace in a CL final since Diego Milito for Inter v Bayern in 2010.
- Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal was the 500th for Real Madrid in the Champions League in their history, and the 1st conceded by Juventus from open play in the competition this season.
- Cristiano Ronaldo is only the second player to score in three different European Cup/Champions League finals after Alfredo Di Stéfano.
- Mario Mandzukic is the 3rd player to score in a European Cup/CL final for 2 different teams after Velibor Vasovic (Partizan Belgrade, Ajax) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester Utd, Real Madrid).
- For the first time, Mandzukic has scored in back-to-back Champions League appearances in the same season.
- Both of Casemiro’s CL goals this season have come against Italian sides (also Napoli in last 16).
- Gianluigi Buffon is the 3rd oldest player to feature in a European Cup final (39y 126d) after Zoff and van der Sar.
- Juventus’ starting XI (30y 336d) was the second oldest named in a Champions League final after Milan in 2006/07 (31y 35d).
- Dani Alves played his 100th Champions League game tonight.
- After his assist for Mandzukic’s goal, Gonzalo Higuaín has been involved in 6 goals in the CL this season, his joint-best tally in a single edition of the competition.
- Zinedine Zidane has won his second Champions League in only his second season in European competition as manager, becoming the first to achieve such a feat since Dettmar Cramer with Bayern Munich (1975, 1976).