Cristiano Ronaldo was the main star as Real Madrid became the first club in modern times to successfully defend the UEFA Champions League trophy.
Fifty international journalists were asked to predict the final of the UEFA Champions League that took place in Cardiff, Wales on June 3rd. Tallied results showed that 38 people predicted that Juventus would win while only 12 felt otherwise.
Similarly, out of the four Sky Sports Soccer Saturday pundits, only Paul Merson predicted that Real Madrid will win. Mathew Le Tissier, Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thomson all went for the Old Lady.
One prediction stood out in favour of Real Madrid – that of Piers Morgan.
The blunt Briton had tweeted that Real Madrid will beat Juventus by three goals to one, Ronald will score two goals and will be voted Man of the Match (MOTD). All came to pass except that it got better for the Spanish Champions who scored one more to put further shine on a perfect evening.
In our preview to this match, your favourite football blog also tilted toward Juventus. The fact that Real Madrid had consistently conceded goals in virtually all matches played this season and Juventus unyielding defensive knowhow informed that prediction.
While we all know what Ronaldo can do on a good day, it is also not inconceivable that he could bottle up when least expected!
The Real Madrid star didn’t only show up on the night, Ronaldo played arguably the best game of his life in ensuring that Gigi Buffon’s net got breached not once but twice.
Unlike his usual ‘forward only’ performance; the Portuguese did put in a great shift in defense to aid in recovering balls in the midfield. It was as if he had a point to prove to someone. He did that and more.
Ronaldo is a record breaker. So is his coach Zinedine Zidane who has won the most sought after trophy in European club football twice in less than two years.
Juventus were impeccable up to the final. The defense was unarguably the best in Europe. They shut out Barcelona and Messi over two legs and Buffon looked impenetrable until Kylian Mbappe scored in Turin.
But Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo are made of sterner stuff!
Ronaldo’s first goal had a tinge of luck as there was a slight deflection that took the swift shot off the reach of Gigi Buffon.
His second however showed fantastic reaction and predatory instinct to slam home a rasping cross from the right by the influential Luka Modric to put paid to any hope of comeback by Juventus. At the final whistle; no one was left in doubt who the better team was.
Cristiano Ronaldo etched his name in gold as the first player to score in four Champions League finals in modern times with two different clubs. By the way, that was his fourth ‘big one’ – Any questions as to his effectiveness?