Cristiano Ronaldo did it again for Real Madrid, stepping forward to score a penalty and inflict another devastating loss in a Champions League final on rival Atletico Madrid.
CCTV America’s Dan Williams reports.
Real Madrid wins Champions League in penalty shootoutCristiano Ronaldo did it again for Real Madrid, stepping forward to score a penalty and inflict another devastating loss in a Champions League final on rival Atletico Madrid. CCTV America's Dan Williams reports.
For the second time in three finals, the biggest game in club soccer ended with Ronaldo sealing victory, then ripping off his shirt to show off his muscled torso to adoring fans.
Ronaldo’s decisive spot kick in the shootout gave Real Madrid a 5-3 victory on penalties, following a 1-1 draw after extra time in Saturday’s final.
Two years ago, the Portuguese superstar’s penalty had sealed a 4-1 extra-time win over Atletico and prompted the first of his provocative celebrations.
“I knew I was going to score the winning penalty. I was confident,” said Ronaldo, who won his third Champions League title. “I asked (coach Zinedine) Zidane to let me take the last penalty.”
Rising to the dramatic moment after a quiet game for him, Ronaldo sent goalkeeper Jan Oblak the wrong way seconds after Atletico defender Juanfran had struck a post with his team’s fourth kick.
Real Madrid got its record-extending 11th European title and left Atletico with a bitter third loss in the continent’s biggest game. In its two previous finals, Atletico gave up last-minute equalizing goals.
“I don’t believe in injustices,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said in Spanish. “In football, the team that wins deserves to win. They were better during the shootout.”
Simeone said he will consider his future at Atletico, where the combative Argentine has coached for five years.
Zidane has coached for less than five months, yet is already just the seventh man to both coach and play for champion teams in the competition’s 61-year history. The France great, who scored the winning goal for Madrid in the 2002 final, joins an elite group that includes Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola.
“It’s the team of my life. It’s the club that has made me the biggest in everything,” Zidane said in Spanish. He lost two finals playing for Juventus, including in 1998 against Madrid.
Just like the 2014 final, a Madrid derby finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. This time, it was Real Madrid instead of Atletico that conceded a late equalizer.
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, who struck in stoppage time two years ago, showed a forward’s hunger to score in the 15th minute by forcing the ball past Oblak from close range.
Atletico substitute Yannick Carrasco showed the same desire when he leveled in the 79th, outmuscling Lucas Vazquez to shoot Juanfran’s pass high into the net.
Atletico had missed a penalty in the 48th, given for Pepe’s clumsy tackle through Fernando Torres.
Antoine Griezmann’s kick struck the crossbar, repeating his failure to beat goalkeeper Keylor Navas from the spot in a league match this season. The France forward later scored in the shootout.
Atletico raised its game after Griezmann’s miss but the clearest shooting chance fell to defender Stefan Savic who also failed to force a save from Navas.
Ramos showed how a defender, tough and often cynical, should finish. As noted for his red cards as goals, he has now scored in two Champions League finals to stand with Ronaldo in the competition’s history.
Atletico’s defense was warned of Real Madrid’s threat, and its own weakness on the night, from free kicks as early as the sixth minute.
Gareth Bale was fouled deep in Atletico territory, then fired a dipping cross. Attackers again got in front of defenders and both Karim Benzema and Casemiro seemed to deflect the ball toward Oblak staying on his goal-line. This time, the Slovenia goalkeeper blocked with his left leg.
When Madrid did score nine minutes later, Benzema was again free but failed to connect on Bale’s flick before Ramos pounced.
Benzema could have likely sealed the win in the 70th when sent clear but Oblak blocked the Frenchman’s shot with his chest.
Atletico was soon level when Carrasco exploited substitute Vazquez, a midfielder who had just come on for Benzema.
Early in extra time, Ronaldo wasted a good chance when his downward header struck defender Filipe Luis and looped into Oblak’s hands.
Real Madrid was crowned the best in Europe — watched by Spain’s King Felipe VI in San Siro stadium — to cap a season when it had not even been best at home.
Fierce rival Barcelona won four major trophies, including the Spanish league and cup double. Just not the one that matters most in Madrid.
Story by the Associated Press