Chris Andrews ’18
Real Madrid’s Luka Modric gets a through ball as he is streaking down the line and breaks past the speedy left back from Juventus, Alex Sandro. The ball, inches from being out of bounds, as Modric one times a skipping ball to the middle of the 6 yard box. Who else to get to the ball first, but Cristiano Ronaldo as the left winger flicks the ball over keeper, Gianluigi Buffon. The 32 year old Portuguese Phenomenon wields away in celebration and Manager Zinedine Zidane pumps his fist feeling sure that Real Madrid would win once again.That was Ronaldo’s second goal of the game as Real Madrid beat Juventus in a thrilling final, 4-1.
That goal was Ronaldo’s 600th goal, a milestone that only five other soccer players have been able to accomplish. While many soccer players are considered to be at their peak between the ages of 24 and 29, Ronaldo is silencing the critics who comment about his being over 30. “People don’t have words to criticize because the numbers don’t lie,” Ronaldo said to reporter Luka Alario. “My age is just a number I feel like a young boy.” Ronaldo has had an amazing season as Real Madrid also won the Spanish league, La Liga, and lead the team in goals.
Madrid took a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute with a goal by Ronaldo which was erased 7 minutes later by a miraculous bicycle kick by Mario Mandzukic. The Croatian then got Juventus back into the game bringing the score to 1-1 at the end of the first half.
In the second half, it wasn’t until the 61st minute where the Brazilian center mid, Casemiro, scored a brace off a deflection from Sami Khedira. That goal fueled Real to score twice more from Ronaldo and Asensio.
“Zidane believes in us a lot,” Ronaldo said. “ He knows that we are a very good team and that is why we proved it in the second half.”
Real Madrid out possessed Juventus 55% to 45%, as well as exceeded in the number of passes completed 425 to 297.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game going into it,” Real Madrid right winger, Gareth Bale, said to Beanymansports. “It is all about taking your chances and we did that.” Before getting to the final, Real Madrid had to play some tough teams such as Napoli, Bayern Munich, and Atletico Madrid. All three games, Real scored 3 or more goals. This game was no different.
“We simply gave them them the ball,” Juventus right back, Dani Alves, said. “If you do that against a team with the quality like Real Madrid, they will punish you.”
Real Madrid out shot Juventus 18 to 11 which was a key factor to scoring four goals. Both teams kept the same lineup as they have for the rest of the Champions League games with one exception. Benched Real star, Gareth Bale, was subbed into the game at the 77th minute.
“I don’t read too much into that,” Bale said. “It has been a difficult season for me and I understand it is for the team’s best interest.”
It was an exciting victory making Madrid became the first team in the Champions League to defend the trophy. It was the team’s 12th win in the Champions League / European Cup and a milestone for Ronaldo.