The Champions League final was contested by two teams from the same city for the first time in history and the game did not disappoint.
With an array of world class stars and huge money signings on display for Real Madrid and nothing but class, quality and heart from Atletico Madrid, we expected nothing less than a scintillating final – and we were not left disappointed!
Here are ten things we learnt from the final.
Iker Casillas is not the keeper he used to be – Unless you ask Jose Mourinho. Then he is. The Madridista’s darling was baled out by firstly Sergio Ramos and then the Welshman after some truly shocking keeping led to the Diego Godin goal. Looking suspect all night, Casillas gave fans more than a couple of heart in mouth moments. Would you have Casillas in your starting line up next season? Unless you are his mother or the opposition, the answer has to be no.
You can take the man out of Argentina… – But you cannot take Argentina out of the man. Clearly. Diego Simeone spectacularly lost the plot upon realising his side would not be doing the double, entered the field twice, promised to see Raphael Varane in the tunnel and despite a brilliant season, showed why he still has plenty to learn. Running down the touchline a la Mourinho was good to see in the semi-finals. This was not.
Bale is now worth double what they paid for him in the eyes of Madrid fans – The elusive La Decima has finally been won after a wait of 12 years and man of the moment Gareth Bale managed to deliver it. The Welshman caused a bit of a stir with his price tag but that one moment of magic has repaid it in full – and written his name in the history books to boot.
Money, Money Money – Bale alone cost more than the entire Atleti side and the difference in the bench was clear to see. As was the fact that Los Blancos basically gave up in the League. Ancelotti turned to Isco and Marcelo – the latter scoring a goal in extra time – whereas Simeone had to turn to Jose Sosa. The fact that Arda Turan missed the game and Diego Costa lasted less than ten minutes showed and at the end of the day, rightly or wrongly, money talks.
Rampant Ramos – The defender now has six goals from his last seven games – Karim Benzema in case you were wondering meanwhile has zero. The cat has become a kitten it seems. Luckily for Ancelotti and Casillas, Ramos has become a lion and roared to get the equaliser with a header that was simply a bullet. His penalty in Champions League’s gone past may have gone to the moon but that equaliser was the real rocket. A skipper whether he wears the arm band or not.
Carlo has made history – The quiet and unassuming Italian is now forever loved in the Spanish capital – well until their next defeat – and he has also become the second manager ever to win three European Cups. A massive achievement for a thoroughly likeable manager.
It was those set plays again – Atleti hero Diego Godin netted at the Camp Nou last week and again in Lisbon to give his side the lead from a corner and as we know Atleti are deadly from them. They also concede few and far between from dead ball situations and it must break their hearts that the one time they failed to pick Ramos up, he produced that.
Atleti should have their heads held as high as Real Madrid, if not higher – They are the team of the people and won even more hearts after that loss. Their players, who have killed themselves to get over the finishing line in the Liga, gave everything they had and a little bit more. Had their goal been the last gasp one it may all have been different but their legs went after the Ramos goal and no one can blame them. It may seem bleak now, but this has been a season to be proud of for the Liga winners.
Di Maria and Modric shone again – Xabi Alonso missed out through suspension and that of course meant that Luka Modric had to be at the top of his game. He was and then some. In keeping with the season, the Croat and Di Maria ran the show and despite a half fit Ronaldo failing to shine, they more than made up for it. The Atleti ‘taking one for the team’ yellow card count rose quite dramatically each time Di Maria got the ball!
Spain hold it all – They have the World Cup, European Championship, the Europa League and the Champions League in their grasp. Not too bad really. The next time anyone wants to call the Liga as weak and indeed a two horse race not worth having would do well to remember this. If they are so weak, how do they manage to win so much you have to wonder.
What did the Champions League final teach you? Did you cheer or cry when Ramos’ header found the back of the net? Let us know your thoughts below.