Carlo Ancelotti became the second man in history to win three European Cups and Diego Simeone well and truly lost the plot after seeing his side oh so close to a historic double – his side were 6560/1 to lift both La Liga and the Champions League at the start of the season – to have it cruelly snatched away literally in the dying minutes.
Much focus will be on that – and indeed the fact that the wait for La Decima is over after the game, but once again there were unsung heroes on both sides who made the game what it was.
Each and every Atletico Madrid player put in a shift to proud of – the players gave everything and a little bit more – but come the Real Madrid equaliser it became clear there would only be one winner.
The side who have killed themselves to lift La Liga this term with their small but quality laden squad were shattered both mentally and physically and both Real Madrid and the watching fans could sense that now was the time to turn the screw. And that they did.
Sergio Ramos grabbed the equaliser – oh those set plays again – with an astonishing header that showed it was he, not armband wearing Iker Casillas that did the job and dragged his side back into the match after a horrific error from said goalie allowed Diego Godin to get Atleti’s goal. Godin who incidentally is not only a rock at the back but also the hero after goals at the Camp Nou and in Lisbon.
Ramos now has six goals from his last seven games. Karim Benzema meanwhile has a whopping zero. Out with the Spanish press anointed BBC – Bale, Benzema and Cris and in with R&B – Ramos and Bale you might think after that final.
Casillas meanwhile showed exactly why previous manager Jose Mourinho dropped him in favour of Diego Lopez and was simply awful all night – coming for crosses that were no business of his, looking shaky distributing the ball and even suspect on shot stopping.
Madridistas nearly saw their blind faith in Casillas come back to haunt them – and install him as number one again next season and make no mistake it will. Spain may also want to take a moment and consider the excellent season of David de Gea – but they won’t. Casillas on reputation alone sadly walks into that starting eleven.
In keeping with the season, Angel Di Maria showed why Ancelotti was right to keep him and offload Mesut Ozil, once again having a brilliant game and at times, looking like the only one who was actually causing Atleti problems.
Luka Modric was another star man, and in the absence of Xabi Alonso it was more vital than ever he performed and boy he did. The ex-Spurs man was immense and may have a second career as a violinist such was his mastering of the strings in the middle of the park.
The inclusion of Marcelo and Isco showed the gulf in the two sides with Diego Simeone turning to Jose Sosa instead. Atleti’s team cost less than match winning Gareth Bale alone and it is hard to fight such power – especially when it comes with that bit of star quality too.
Atleti meanwhile will go home heartbroken, and that is only natural after coming so close and seeing their dream destroyed. However once the dust settles on their season of dreams, they will realise how far they have come, what they have done and the fact that their heads should be held very high indeed.
Yes Atleti played a counter attacking game at times but anyone who calls that anti-football and claims Real deserved to win needs to have a good long look at themselves.
Quite what Atleti were supposed to do at times against the best attacking line up in football – by some distance- is a mystery if defending is not an option.
Yes their ‘taking one for the team’ count rose throughout the game but name a side in world football that wouldn’t have to do the same against the attacking prowess of Real Madrid.
It was far from the Chelsea parking the bus style – which again if it works at times should not be sniffed at.
They lost their star forward after nine minutes. Arda Turan did not even make the game. Their players have given everything all season and had just enough left in the tank for this game. Had they been the ones to score so late on things may have been different but conceding when they were on the brink killed them and their manager.
A manager who is also coming in for a bit of stick after going all Cantona on Raphael Varane for celebrating in front of the Atleti bench. Well the only classless one there is the young Frenchman who would do well to learn some respect.
Yes, Simeone was wrong to lose his head. A manager is someone the team looks to for guidance, but he is not the first and will not be the last to do that. He is Jose Mourinho like in more ways than perhaps even his staunchest supporters realised.
Already having won so much for a manager of his tender years, those Simeone haters better get used to him because the Argentine is going nowhere. And the game will be better for it.
Atleti’s team may well be dismantled this summer – and once again it will be left to Simeone to rebuild – but he has done it before and no one with a brain would bet against him doing it again.
It was the millionaires of the city verses the team of the people and whilst Real recorded a 4-1 win, they and all who watched know the score line flatters to deceive.
Their fans will not care of course. All they care about is La Decima which they will celebrate for all eternity – and hope it is not another twelve years before the next one!
Real Madrid are considering adding to their firepower this summer with Luis Suarez a mooted name – a scary prospect indeed, but with no side ever having retained the Champions League there is hope for the rest yet.
The club of the people meanwhile may take a little while to get over this. Football is a cruel game and it was shown never more so than in the two big games of the day – the Playoff final and the Champions League final – with two devastatingly late goals.
However when Simeone and his side regroup, they will hold their heads high. Perhaps higher even than their winning neighbours.
Do you think Real Madrid deserved the trophy? How will both sides do next season? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.