For the first time in recent history, Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, commonly known as Real Madrid, or simply as Real, beat Italian rivals, Juventus of Italy in a sensational game that was played in Cardiff. It was also the first time in recent memory that a Champions League march would be played under a covered stadium. The reason was simple – the organisers would not take any chances given the spate of terrorism in the world.
There was terrorist attack at Manchester days back in the build-up to the final at Cardiff meaning that all precautionary measures must be taken even if it means covering up the roof but that did not in any way affect the standard and quality of play. What was evident in the game was that the Juventus team is aging and could not withstand the pressure from Real. Never before in the modern era of the Champions League has the trophy been defended. Real has smashed that record. Haven’t they? Yes they have, in huge style too – it was not 1 or 2 goals. They scored 4 past Juventus who never lost a game in this year’s Champions League until the final.
Talking about Zinedine Zidane, the Real Madrid manager, Bob Draper, wrote, “Eighteen months ago he looked a stooge, a teacher’s pet and a project of President Florentino Perez’s vanity. Now he ranks alongside Bob Paisley, Brian Clough and Arrigo Sacchi as a man who has retained this famous old trophy. In 18 months he has achieved in this tournament what Sir Alex Ferguson did in a lifetime and what Jose Mourinho has managed in 17 years. In football terms, his path has been smoothed, but still, what he has done is remarkable.”
But that does not mean that Juventus did not put on a fight, they did. Mario Mandzukic shortly after Christiano Ronaldo goal produced a moment of brilliance to level things up with an outrageous overhead kick. Gianluigi Buffon 39 years and captain of the side could not withstand the pressure Real brought in the second half of the game. At the end of the day, Ronaldo was crowned Man-of-the-match.