Real Madrid defend CL title, trash Juventus 4-1

Real Madrid players celebrating their UEFA Champions League victory.

Football

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid retained the Champions League in scintillating style by overwhelming Juventus in Cardiff.

Real's record 12th triumph in this competition - and third in four seasons - was predictably orchestrated by Ronaldo, who has now scored in three different Champions League finals.

Ronaldo stopped a bright opening by Juve in its tracks as he swept in Dani Carvajal's pass after 20 minutes, before Mario Mandzukic levelled with one of the great Champions League final goals, firing a sublime overhead kick beyond Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Real were unstoppable after the break, restoring their lead just through Casemiro's deflected shot before Ronaldo scored at the near post from a cross by the outstanding Luka Modric.

Juventus's misery increased when substitute Juan Cuadrado was sent off for a second caution after a clash with Sergio Ramos, before substitute Marco Asensio emphasised Real's superiority with a precise finish in the last minute.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane has now won back-to-back Champions Leagues - as well as this season's La Liga title - since he took charge in January 2016.


Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure early in the match, gesturing to German referee Felix Brych about what he perceived as some early rough treatment.

But he ended the night as Real's hero, winning his third Champions League winners' medal for the Spanish club and fourth in total, as the 32-year-old continues to write new chapters in his glittering career.


On display in Cardiff were all the facets that make him an all-time great forward - pace, desire, anticipation, technique - as he helped Real dismantle a Juve defence that conceded just three goals in 1,080 minutes en route to the final.


Ronaldo's first was an instant sweeping finish beyond the outstretched right arm of Gianluigi Buffon while the second showed the touch of a poacher, moving like lightning beyond static Juve defenders to guide in an emphatic near-post finish.


The Portugal captain now has a remarkable record of 105 goals in 140 Champions League games - 12 of those coming in just 13 games this season.


Real had their qualities questioned in their most recent Champions League finals, starting with their victory over Atletico Madrid in Lisbon in 2014 - when they needed Ramos' injury-time equaliser to force extra time before going on to win - and again last season when they beat the same opponents on penalties.


This was the performance of a world-class team, ripping apart a defence that has a reputation as one of football's meanest and did not concede a goal in either leg of their quarter-final win against Barcelona, keeping out Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.


Real survived a whirlwind Juventus opening before taking control after the break, with Modric and Toni Kroos manipulating possession in midfield and Ronaldo providing the cutting edge.


Juventus had performed with such distinction in this Champions League that many experts understandably had them as favourites - instead they ended heavily beaten by a ruthless and wonderfully gifted side.


Juventus looked the complete package en route to this final. Not only did Massimiliano Allegri's side have that formidable defence but also a potent attack led by Gonzalo Higuain.


They started as if determined to banish the demons that have visited them in past Champions League finals, and were right in the game after Mandzukic's triumph of technique and athleticism pulled them level - but they ended overwhelmed.

Credit: www.bbc.co.uk
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