Sunday, 4 June 2017

Real Madrid Defend their Champions League Title beating Juventus 4-1 , Ronaldo scores his 600th career goal

Juventus 1-4 Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo nets 600th career goal to fire Spaniards to Champions League glory and an historic La Duodecima in Cardiff
Cristiano Ronaldo netted Real Madrid's first goal, watching his effort deflect slightly off Leonardo Bonucci
Mario Mandzukic then produced a moment of brilliance to level things up with an outrageous overhead kick
Casemiro was unlikely scorer of Real's second; his long-range shot took a huge deflection off Sami Khedira
Ronaldo pounced on Juve's sleeping defence to put Real Madrid further ahead with 25 minutes left of game
Things went from bad to worse for Juve as Juan Cuadrado was sent off, but the decision was extremely harsh
Marco Asensio came off the bench to score Real Madrid's fourth after Marcelo's brilliant assist at the death
UEFA Champions League final: Recap the game in Cardiff with Sportsmail's minute-by-minute live blog


PUBLISHED: 21:39 BST, 3 June 2017 | UPDATED: 01:49 BST, 4 June

He did what he always does. And Real Madrid did what they have done so often since this rather magnificent trophy was first awarded in 1956.

Cristiano Ronaldo, at 32, is still demanding centre stage. He won an FA Cup final at this stadium in 2004 as a callow youth against Millwall. It was his first ever team trophy.

On Saturday night, the opposition was somewhat more glamorous, the prize somewhat more treasured but the performance has remained the same. He did what he does, which is to lead from the front and ensure that, if silverware is at stake, he is the man left holding it at the end.


Sergio Ramos lifts the Champions League trophy after Real Madrid's dominant victory over Juventus on Saturday night


Cristiano Ronaldo was the main man once again as he netted twice to help Real Madrid to an emphatic 4-1 victory


Ronaldo (left) watches on as his shot flies past Gianluigi Buffon and into the bottom corner of the net to open the scoring


The effort took a slight deflection off Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci as Ronaldo opened the scoring for Real Madrid


Ronaldo wheels away in celebration after doing what he does best - netting in the biggest of occasions for Real Madrid


The Portuguese superstar produced his trademark celebration in front of the Juventus fans at the Principality Stadium


Real did not lead for long in Cardiff, as Mario Mandzukic produced a moment of magic to level things up for the Italian side


A long shot of Mandzukic's goal shows the sheer audacity of his effort - it send the Juve fans wild at the Principality Stadium


Mandzukic reacts to his incredible goal, sprinting away to celebrate with his team-mates after levelling the match at 1-1


Ronaldo nets his second of the night - and the 600th of his career - to put Real Madrid further ahead in the Cardiff showpiece


Goalscorer Ronaldo drops to his knees at the final whistle to celebrate Real Madrid's historic 12th European Cup win


Gianluigi Buffon walks past the trophy after collecting his runners' up medal - the Champions League continues to allude him


Juventus (4-2-3-1): Buffon 6, Alves 6, Barzagli 6 (Cuadrado 66, 5), Bonucci 6, Chiellini 6, Sandro 7, Pjanic 6 (Marchisio 70, 6), Khedira 6, Higuain 6, Dybala 7 (Lemina 78, 5), Mandzukic 7

Subs not used: Neto, Benatia, Asamoah,Lichtsteiner

Goal: Mandzukic 27

Booked: Dybala, Sandro, Pjanic, Cuadrado

Sent off: Cuadrado

Manager: Max Allegri - 6

Real Madrid (4-3-1-2): Navas 7, Carvajal 6, Ramos 7, Varane 7, Marcelo 7, Kroos 7 (Morata 89, 7), Casemiro 7, Modric 9, Isco 8 (Asensio 82, 8), Benzema 7 (Bale 77, 7), Ronaldo 8

Subs not used: Casilla, Nacho, Kovacic, Danilo

Goals: Ronaldo 20, 64, Casemiro 61, Asensio 90

Booked: Carvajal, Ramos, Kroos

Manager: Zinedine Zidane - 9

Referee: Felix Brych - 7

Attendance: 65,842

Man of the Match: Luka Modric

Ratings by Gerry Cox

Mario Mandzukic's equaliser in all its glory; Sandro (12) starts the move and then sprints to produce the cross just seconds later

Real Madrid's Casemiro worked hard and was rewarded with a goal Click HERE for more from Sportsmail's Match Zone service...

The Lionel Messi debate will never be properly resolved but let it simply be said that Ronaldo's capacity for reinvention is remarkable. He has fewer touches than almost anyone but the ones he has are decisive. The ability to track back and press relentlessly may be diminishing. But put a ball at his feet and his speed and movement is still bewitching.

On Saturday night, it was just too much for Juventus. In fact, the weight of history was too much for the famous old Italian team. This was their seventh defeat in a final and there was the sad yet dignified sight of a 39-year-old Gianluigi Buffon gently applauding Juventus fans as 'We are the Champions' bellowed in the background. The face said it all; this trophy seems beyond him.

But Real Madrid, the team who appropriated the old European Cup at its outset, are dominating the modern era. Their 12th trophy in all was a landmark. Never before in the modern era of the Champions League has the trophy been defended. It has now. Three wins in four years begins to invite comparisons to Ajax, Bayern, Liverpool and AC Milan. And Ronaldo is stealing the show, not quite yet up there Paco Gente's six wins and Alfredo Di Stefano's five, but closing in with four and becoming the first man to score in three finals.


Bonucci (right) can do nothing to stop the ball clipping his right foot as Ronaldo's shot finds the bottom left-hand corner


Buffon dives desperately to his right but can only watch on as World Player of the Year Ronaldo opens the scoring in Cardiff


Ronaldo sprints to the corner after starting Real Madrid off in perfect fashion in the Champions League final on Saturday night


Real Madrid forward Ronaldo leaps into the air to perform his trademark celebration in front of the distraught Juventus fans


And what of Zinedine Zidane? 18 months ago he looked a stooge, the teacher's pet of president Florentino Perez's vanity project. 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 to the top has been smoothed; he is an aristocrat, born to rule rather than a coach forced to survive only by his wits. But, still, what he has done is remarkable.

By the time substitute Marco Asenio added Real Madrid's fourth goal in the 90th minute, the game was already well won. Indeed, it was well won by the time Gareth Bale came on for his cameo role in his home city on 76 minutes.

An enthralling first half contest had evolved into a statement of Real Madrid's dominance, the only sour taste being the manner in which Sergio Ramos contrived to get Juan Cuadrado sent off for an innocuous push on 84 minutes. It made no difference to the outcome; simply reminded us of the utter cynicism of much of the game.

But the joy was the overwhelming essence of the evening. 'We're so happy because the truth is that this has been a spectacular year,' said Zidane. 'You couldn't dream of anything better: winning the league on the last day and this cup, you know it's very difficult. We were playing against a great team, we started with difficulties but were superior in the second half and won the game there.'

For Juventus, there were only regrets. 'We played beautifully in the first half,' lamented Juventus' coach, Max Allergri. 'But in the second half, they stepped on the accelerator,' he added, before pausing. 'Football is a nightmare!' he concluded. 'The only criticism of my team is that after conceding the second we should have stayed in the game mentally.'


Real captain Sergio Ramos jumps on Ronaldo as the Los Blancos players catch up with their star man near the corner flag


Ronaldo smiles - not for the last time on Saturday night - after netting his opening goal at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff


Under pressure from the Real defenders, Mandzukic produces a bicycle kick which finds the far corner of Keylor Navas' goal


Mandzukic's goal ensured Real Madrid only led Juventus for seven minutes during a tight and hard-fought first half


Navas watches on as Croatian forward Mandzukic finds the far corner of the Real Madrid goal to make the score 1-1


Mandzukic cups his ears as he sprints away in celebration after scoring perhaps the best goal of his professional career


Buffon - playing in perhaps his last Champions League final at the age of 39 - screams in celebration after Juventus' equaliser


Mandzukic pats the Juventus crest on his shirt as the players celebrate equalling things up in the first half of the match

Juventus had really started the better. Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic tested Keylor Navas, the latter forcing a fine one-handed save. Dani Alves, playing in an advanced position, had seemingly put Real Madrid on the back foot. Sami Khedira and Pjanic took control of the midfield. This was a Juventus team at ease with the occasion.

So how galling must have been to have found themselves a goal down after 20 minutes when Real Madrid had offered so little up to that point. Yet what Real Madrid do, they do masterfully, none more so than Cristiano Ronaldo. Working from the back, within seconds Toni Kroos found Karim Benezema, who located Ronaldo, springing into life like a predator.

He fed Dani Carvajal down the right, while he himself sped away demanding the return, which he swept past Buffon, with a deflection from Leonardo Bonucci. The passage of play out from the back had been so smooth, so rapid, so seamless, that Juve seemed helpless.


Casemiro puts Real back in the lead with a thumping effort; it took a deflection off Sami Khedira on the way through


Buffon is beaten by Casemiro's long-range effort after the ball took a huge deflection on the way towards the goal


Casemiro spreads his arms wide in celebration after netting to make it 2-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final


Ronaldo stretches out his leg ahead of Alex Sandro to poke home Real Madrid's third, effectively ending Juventus' chances

You feared for Juve but they summoned their own moment of brilliance to respond. A lovely cross-field ball found Alex Sandro, who pulled the ball across goal first time so that Higuain could touch it back for Mario Mandzukic, who took it on his chest. Again, there seemed little threat. Yet then Mandzukic managed something extraordinary.

With his back to goal and falling off-balance, he stretched out a long leg and connected with the ball so cleanly and accurately that Navas barely had time to move as it soared past him. Real Madrid's coach Zidane once scored a mind-boggling volley in a Champions League final, also on British soil, which will never be forgotten; this wasn't far removed.

A compelling contest ensued yet after half-time, Real Madrid reasserted some authority and Juventus demonstrated their fabled defensive strength. Andrea Barzagli made one superbly-athletic intervention to hook the ball away from Isco. Luka Modric, sublime in midfield, was denied on 55 minutes; Real Madrid were being frustrated.


Ronaldo celebrates after netting his 600th goal for club and country, putting the game beyond the reach of Juventus


It went from bad to worse for Juventus when substitute Juan Cuadrado received his marching orders, albeit a harsh decision


With stoppage time fast approaching, Marco Asensio puts the ball in for Real Madrid's fourth goal of the final in Cardiff


Asensio wheels away in delight after scoring just a few minutes after coming on as a substitute for Real Madrid

But in a night of exquisite strikes, another was coming. Juventus cleared another attack on 61 minutes but the ball fell for Casemiro. The Brazilian sized it up from 30 yards and struck it well through a forest of players, though a deflection off Khedira ultimately took it beyond the outstretched Buffon. No matter: the joy from his team-mates was none the less for that.

At that stage, all was not lost for Juventus yet there is no containing Ronaldo and no holding back Real Madrid when they have the sniff of the European Cup. Just three minutes after that goal, they seized complete control of the match.

While Juve dallied on the ball, still dazed, Modric raced in, seized possession and sprinted down the right, pulling the ball back across goal. Darting between two of the world's great defenders in Chiellini and Bonucci was Ronaldo. The decisive first-time finish from close range looked simple; yet again, though, the pre-emptive movement and anticipation had been sublime. If the game was finished, it was because Ronaldo had yet again dominated the occasion.


Young substitute Asensio jumps in the crowd at the Principality Stadium to celebrate with Real Madrid's supporters


Ronaldo is hoisted above to the crowd as photographers lean in to get the perfect shot of Saturday night's star man


Real Madrid captain Ramos poses with his wife and two children, one of whom sits inside the Champions League trophy


Real Madrid's players celebrate on the pitch at the Principality Stadium after their stunning victory over Juventus


Marcelo jumps in the air as he celebrates in front of the Real Madrid supporters after a memorable night in the Welsh capital


Gonzalo Higuain takes on Casemiro early in the first half of the Champions League final, but he fails to carve a chance on goal


Alex Sandro breaks away from Dani Carvajal and Luka Modric as Juventus start the brighter of the two sides in Cardiff


Anything you can do, I can do better? Ronaldo tries to emulate Mandzukic's goal down the other end, but he fires over the bar


Miralem Pjanic tries to get himself out of trouble but is surrounded by Real Madrid bodies during a tight first half in Cardiff


Paulo Dybala screams for a free-kick after being thrust off the ball by Real captain Ramos, but the referee waves play on


Dybala fires a free-kick towards the Real Madrid goal, but Ronaldo jumps high to block the ball - seemingly using his arm


Juventus' Croatian goalscorer Mandzukic receives medical attention after picking up a knock midway through the final


Ronaldo protests to the referee after a free-kick was given against Real Madrid in the early stages of the second half

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