Cristiano Ronaldo topped his most prominent year by helping Real Madrid turn into the first Champions League holder to hold its title, exhibiting his persisting scoring qualities in a 4-1 triumph over Juventus at Cardiff Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
A superb brace from Cristiano Ronaldo and two goals from Casemiro and Marco Asensio was all Los Blancos needed to inflict a catastrophically irrecoverable damage on the very disoriented Massimiliano Allegri’s Old Ladies who lost their bearings when it mattered most. Mario Mandzukic scored a beauty of a goal that was out of this world, but it was not enough to stop Real Madrid from clinching an historic 12th Champions League title.
In an extraordinary career in which he continues modifying the record books, Ronaldo scored twice to wind up noticeably the first player in the 25 seasons of the Champions League era to score in three finals.
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 20th minutes before the Italian powerhouse Juventus immediately responded four minutes later when Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic executed an acrobatic volley to the Old Lady in balance.
In spite of the fact that the first half showed up, the two teams were equally matched, the second half proved a different e story as Juventus had no response for an overwhelming Madrid squad.
In any case, the Italian champions basically had no response for Madrid in the second half, struggling to establish any significant possession and confronting a steady flow of pressure which in the long run saw Madrid flee with an agreeable triumph.
In the 61st minute, Brazilian midfielder Casemiro’s shot was deflected off Juventus’ Sami Khedira to spin beyond the reach of Gianluigi Buffon, the goal place Madrid in the driver’s seat.
Ronaldo included his second goal in the 64th minute to give his team a comfortable 3-1 lead.
It was an unusually dull second half show from Juve, whose disappointment was compounded by substitute Juan Cuadrado becoming the first substitute to be sent off in a Champions League Final after he stupidly clashed with Madrid captain Sergio Ramos after already being awarded a yellow card.
Sergio Asensio put in another goal for good measure making Real Madrid the first team to win consecutive titles in the Champions League since the competition changed its name for the 1992-1993 season from the European Champion Clubs’ Cup.
No one was more disappointed than veteran goalkeeper and captain Gigi Buffon, who realises that his odds of adding a Champions League title to his astonishing collection of silverware may now have passed him by.
The 39-year-old acknowledged that his team ended up well beaten, conceding: “We are disappointed.
“We played very well in the first half, and we thought we had enough to win the game. But I cannot explain why we played like we did in the second half.
“Real Madrid deserved to win in the second half. They showed their class and the attitude needed to play in the kind of game.”