Monday, July 23, 2018

Juventus 1-4 Real Madrid: Five things we learned as Los Blancos retain Champions League title

Milos Markovic in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 3 Jun 2017


Real Madrid retain Champions League title / image via

Real Madrid have won the Champions League on Saturday night after defeating Serie A champions Juventus 4-1.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring when he converted Real Madrid’s first shot at goal after 20 minutes, but Mario Mandzukic’s acrobatic wonder-goal leveled the score after only seven minutes.

Spanish champions stepped up their efforts in the second time and scored a brace within the space of three minutes when Casemiro first put Real Madrid up again only for Ronaldo to infict a huge blow to Juventus, who failed to recover after going 3-1 down.

Late second-half sub Marco Asensio dropped the curtain on the glorious Cardiff final with his 90th-minute goal as Zinedine Zidane’s men lifted the coveted trophy for the second year running.

Five things we learned are as follows:

Real Madrid do the unimaginable!

History has been written in Cardiff as Real Madrid became the first-ever club to defend their Champions League title.

Mind you, they are the second side to retain the title in Europe’s top competition – it’s the matter of semantics here. Four reigning champions have reached the final only to be defeated in the past but it was only AC Milan who managed to lift consecutive European Cup in 1989 and 1990. Real Madrid have become the first team to do it since the competition’s 1992 revamp and, boy let’s talk about the way to do it. Having beaten Atletico Madrid on penalties in 2016, Los Blancos cruised to a 4-1 victory over the team boasting one of the strongest defence lines in Europe.

Ronaldo makes history…again

Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed a truly stellar season for Real Madrid in the Champions League. The Portuguese international crushed all sorts of records in the competition thus far and he set another one on Saturday night.

The first man to score 100 goals in the Champions League used the big occasion in Cardiff to become the first player in the Champions League era to score in three finals. Having scored both in 2014 and 2016, the Portuguese star added a brace in 2017 final as well to put his name in another record book. What is more, Cristiano Ronaldo will be remembered as the man who scored Real Madrid’s 500th goal in the Champions League and his 600th in all competitions for club and country so there are another set of statistical pieces information for the king of the Champions League to boast with.

Mario Mandzukic scores one of the best Champions League goals this season

Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic deserves a huge credit for his brilliant effort in the first half. The Juventus target man showed great determination in the box with his acrobatic hook which flew over Keylor Navas and in to the Real Madrid net.

For a player of such stature and physique, Mandzukic demonstrated great skill and technique to find a space for himself and lift up in the air for arguably one of the best striker we’ve seen in the competition. The goal was a well-deserved award for the Croatia international who has been criticized and undermined throughout his career. Former Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid has never been given the full credit he deserves for being such a utility man despite his height. Mac Allegri changed his position, but Mandzukic bowed his head and worked hard to slot himself into the team alongside the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, who were expected to push his right out of the squad this season.

Manchester United just raised the asking price on David De Gea

Real Madrid might have just won the Champions League after defending their 11th European title, but Los Blancos hierarchy will waste no time in going ahead with their transfer activities.

And after the game tonight it might be ever so evident that the Spanish champions will step up their efforts for Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea. Keylor Navas deserves credit for his performances for Real Madrid this season, but he has never been eyed as the ideal Los Blancos man. Poor positioning and a failure to stop Mario Mandzukic’s flying effort might have signed his death sentence at Santiago Bernabeu. Manchester United will be well aware Real Madrid will go charging forward during the summer transfer window and his Navas’s putting in a poor performance tonight they could might as well push the asking price on the Spanish shot stoop up a notch. Just for the kick of it if nothing else.

Juventus curse continues

Bianconeri legend Alessandro Del Piero might be claiming Juventus are not cursed, but their results in the Champions League finals beg to differ.

The Serie A champions have last won the coveted trophy in 1996, and have lost in each of the four Champions league finals they were part of. Repeated final disappointments have apparently placed great load of pressure on Juventus’s shoulders. The Old Lady burned out in their own desire providing more ground for all the notorious curse claims. Juventus have been in dominating and impressive form during the knockouts this year, not only eliminating, but also muting the likes of free-scoring sides such as Barcelona and/or Monaco, but their impenetrable defence line capitulated in a frustrating manner on the big night in Cardiff. The Old Lady looked composed and concentrated during the good part of the game and for them to concede as many as three goals in a single game is quite disturbing.  

JUVENTUS: Buffon 5.5 – Barzagli 6 (Cuadrado 4), Bonucci 6.5, Chiellini 6 – Alves 6.5, Pjanic 6 (Marchisio 5.5), Khedira 6, Sandro 6 – Dybala 5.5 (Lemina -) – Higuain 6.5, Mandzukic 7.5.

Unused subs: Aamoah, Benatia, Lichtsteiner, Neto.

REAL MADRID: Navas 6 – Carvajal 7, Ramos 7, Varane 7, Marcelo 7 – Kroos 7 (Morata -), Casemiro 7.5, Modric 7.5 – Isco 7 (Asensio 7.5), Benzema 7 (Bale 6), Ronaldo 8.5.

Unused subs: Casilla, Danilo, Nacho, Kovacic.

REFEREE: Felix Brych


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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