Real Madrid win the Champions League and claim la Undécima.
After a thrilling spectacle of football it's Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty that clinches the Champions League title for Zidane's team. The Portugal international was largely anonymous throughout the entirety of the game but made no mistake from twelve yards after Juanfran's miss set things up perfectly for him to overwrite his poor performance.
Atlético started slowly and quickly found themselves trailing through an offside Ramos goal. However, as the first half wore on Simeone’s Mattress Makers began to get a foothold of the ball and went into the dressing room at half time with their spirits slightly higher.
El Cholo brought on Carrasco for the beginning of the second half and the Belgian made an immediate impact. Despite Griezmann failing to convert a 46th minute penalty, the Rojiblancos kept at it and eventually got an equaliser through the aforementioned substitute. Although it was pretty much one-way traffic after the restart, Atleti couldn’t fully capitalise on their dominance and the match had to go to extra-time.
Again, it was Atlético who enjoyed the bulk of the chances as Madrid’s forward line started dropping like flies due to cramp and fatigue, and again they couldn't pull themselves in front.
The first seven spot-kicks hit the net and then, in heartbreaking fashion, Juanfran directed his effort off the goal frame. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up next and fired a powerful shot past Oblak to compound Altético's misery and secure Madrid's eleventh European Cup.
Ronaldo smashes the ball past Oblak and wins it for Real Madrid (5-3)
Juanfran hits the post (4-3)
Ramos takes a long run up to decieve Oblak and put Madrid back in front (4-3)
Saúl overcomes the pressure to keep things level (3-3)
Bale shakes off his cramp and stirs his shot into the bottom corner (3-2)
Gabi makes no mistake (2-2)
Marcelo drives his shot past Oblak's outstretched arm (2-1)
Griezmann follows up and makes amends for his earlier miss (1-1)
Lucas Vázquez steps up first.... and scores. (1-0)
STAT: Atlético have prevailed in a shoot-out already this season when they edged past PSV in the round of 16. However, the Rojiblancos' record previous to 2015-16 read won one and lost three.
Min 120 | Penalties will have to settle this one.
Min 119 | Danilo powers forward and switches the play to Marcelo and the Brazilian picks out Lucas Vazquez in the box with a great pass. The Galician forward tees himself up but waits too long and fails to execute his shot.
Min 114 | A distraught looking Koke goes down clutching his leg. Play is stopped to allow for a stretcher to make its way onto the pitch but the combative midfielder opts to limp off instead. Thomas is brought on to replace him
Min 112 | Pepe swings his boot at Gabi, clipping the midfield above the knee and earning himself a booking.
Min 110 | Tension mounts among the red and white contigent in the San Siro, as painful memories of Lisbon come rushing back after Madrid win a corner. But Modric fails to repeat his pin-point cross from two years previous and the danger is cleared.
Min 107 | Substitution for Atleti: Lucas on; Filipe Luis off.
Min 105 | Fifeteen minutes for someone to tip the balance or spot kicks will have to decide this one.
Half-time of extra-time: Real Madrid 1-1 Atlético
Two physios sprint onto the pitch to give Bale treatment after Clattenburg blows his whistle. From the looks of it the Cardiff native is cramping up like an Artic explorer scaling an iceberg.
Min 103 | In stark contrast to two years ago, its Los Blancos who look crocked this time round. Atlético are finding space and team-mates with ease as Madrid's attack look more and more depleted with the passing of each minute.
Min 100 | After a good spell from Atlético, Madrid break forward and come very close to raining on the Colchonero parade. Ronaldo jinks past Juanfran, squares to Isco who lays off to Bale but a swarm of red and whites shirts snuff out the danger. The Welshman goes down holding his right leg.
Min 96 | Carrasco has been sublime since coming on. Danilo have a torrid time trying to contain the number 21.
Min 94 | Ronaldo rises to meet a corner but can only muster a feeble header that Slovakian gathers with ease. The Portuguese really should have scored there...
Min 93 | Carrasco thunders up the left wing, Danilo purposefully steps in his way and gets a booking in the process.
Min 91 | Casemiro hits a tame effort straight at Oblak.
The first period of extra-time is upon us...
Real Madrid 1-1 Atlético
Regular time is over. Madrid have used up all their subs and Ronaldo, who hasn't been at the races all night, looks like he's struggling. Meanwhile, should he see fit to do so, Simeone still has two changes to make.
Min 90 + 2 | Carrasco wins possession and breaks forward with two players in support only to be hacked down by Ramos just inside Madrid's half. Clattenburg reaches for his pocket and produces a.... yellow card. Gabi protests and joins his international team-mate in the English man's book.
Min 89 | Danilo tugs out of Carrasco and concedes a free-kick in a dangerous area, but Atlético waste the opporunity with an overhit cross.
Min 88 | The stats show Atlético are dominating in the possession stakes: 58% to Madrid's 42%.
Min 85 | Madrid win a corner but Pepe construes to get in the way of a goal-bound Bale header.
Min 82 | Juanfran swings in another cross from the right flank, this time its Torres who meets it but the former Liverpool striker's attempt to tuck the ball into Navas' bottom corner is blocked by Ramos.
Min 78 | GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!! CARRASCO!!!!! Atlético draw level. Gabi dinks a clever free-kick over the Madrid back line towards an on-rushing Juanfran, the roving right-back hits a first-time pass across the face of goal which is turned in by the Belgian. Prior to the setpiece being taken, Casemiro made his way into Clattenburg's little black book.
Min 75 | Benzema off for Lucas Vázquez
Min 73 | A master class in petulance from Pepe who goes down like a ton of bricks from a very innocuous challenge from Filipe Luis. The Brazilian left-back offers to help the Portugal international to his feet but the latter instead flips over, face in the grass, and fanes agony.
Min 71 | Interesting move from Zidane as he takes off Kroos and brings on Isco.
Min 69 | Modric slips through Benzema with a majestic outside-of-the-boot pass, the number 9 bombs forward but blasts his shot right at Oblak. Cristiano, who was running in support, looks furiously at his strike partner.
Min 67 | Godín takes out Cristiano Ronaldo on the edge of the box and the ref brandishes a yellow card in the direction of the Uruguayan defender. Bale takes the resulting free-kick which clips the wall and goes out for a corner.
Min 65 | Madrid have created precious little since the restart.
Min 62 | A sustained spell of possession by the Colchoneros concludes with a poorly hit long-ranger from Saúl that trickles wide.
Min 58 | Saúl comes very close to pulling Atlético level but sees his side-footed volley go inches wide of the mark.
Min 55 | Carrasco has definitely offered Atleti more incision since coming on. The Belgian twists and turns on the right flank before hooking a ball into the area, only for Pepe to sweep clear. Shortly afterwards Koke has a punt from distance but Navas calmly watches it whizz over the bar.
Min 53 | The ball bounces from one Atleti player to the next in Madrid's six-yard box but no one can stir it into the onion bag. Juanfran, at the back post, throws his body at a cross, the ball falls to a back-to-goal Griezmann, who can only knock it on to Savic, but the defender toe pokes wide and into the side netting.
Min 50 | Dani Carvajal pulls up, tearfully turns to the bench and gestures to be taken off. All hope is not lost for Simeone's team as Madrid's most maligned player, Danilo, comes on to take the Spaniard's place.
Min 47 | ... Griezmann smashes the inert sphere off the crossbar. Still 1-0 to Los Blancos. Before the Mattress Makers' hearts were broken, Keylor Navas picked up a booking for descent.
Min 46 | Atlético come out of the traps flying and win a penalty. Pepe clatters into the back of Torres and the ref immediately points to the spot and...
In a clear move to overturn the deficit quickly Simeone has swapped Augusto for Carrasco. Let's see if the Argentinian coach can replicate Unai Emery's half-time team-talk heroics from a few weeks ago...
Real Madrid 1 - 0 Atlético
The ghost of Lisbon past came back to haunt Atlético shortly after the action got underway. The team famous for their fearlessness and battle-hardened approach to the toughest of tests looked on wide-eyed as Real Madrid called the shoots and ensured the opening exchanges were contained in their opponents’ half of the pitch. Ramos broke the deadlock shortly after Benzema was denied from pointblank range. Simeone’s players eventually began to resemble something more akin to the side that dumped the Dutch, German and Spanish champions out of the competition on their way to tonight’s final but have still failed to seriously trouble Keylor Navas. Largely anonymous performance from Fernando Torres in particular.
Min 45 + 1 | No time for anymore in the first-half.
Min 44 | Bale goes on one of his 'knock the ball ten yards ahead of you and run onto it' dribbles and hits the deck rather easily as Savic unsuccessfully tries to halt the Welshman. Clattenburg is having none of the number 11's theatrics though and waves play on.
Min 42 | Griezmann fizzes a right-footed effort a foot wide of the mark.
Min 39 | Atlético seem to have turned a corner. After a shaky start its Cholo's troops who are in command of possession and looking the more fearsome of the sides.
Min 33 | Good golly, and in the blink of an eye a third of the game is already in the rearview mirror. A well-struck left-footed Griezmann volley forces a good save from Navas but it would have amounted to nothing anyway as the Frenchman had already been flagged for offside.
Min 31 | Benzema shimmies left and right on the byline leaving Filipe Luis on his backside before firing a waist height missile towards the danger zone but Oblak punches clear to sounds of relieved sighs from the Atleti fans.
Min 29 | Little to report in terms of action. Atlético finally able to string a few passes together but hats off to Zizou for how he's set up his defensive and midfield lines. Casemiro, Modric and Kroos seem to be cutting out all the angles for the Rojiblancos.
Min 23 | Filipe Luis marauders up the left flank and is picked out in acres of space by Gabi. The Brazilian whips in an inviting ball but the Madrid defence stand their ground and head the ball in the opposite direction of Keylor Navas' goal frame. The ball lands to Juanfran but the right-back skies a first-time effort high into the terraces.
Min 19 | Real Madrid looking comfortable now and have enjoyed the bulk of the possession since taking the lead. Simeone's men are uncharacteristically off the pace.
Min 14 | GOAL!!!!!!! RAMOS!!!!!
Kroos launches a long free-kick up the pitch, Bale gets a nod-on and a very off-side Ramos nips in to put Los Blancos ahead and in the driving seat.
Min 11 | Atlético really struggling to get a foothold of the match. Koke tries to steam forward but is muscled off the ball by Casemiro.
Min 9 | Carvajal gets a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Griezmann.
Min 8 | Positive start from Zizou's charges. Toni Kroos dribbles forward, pulls the trigger from the edge of the box and wins the first corner of the game as Savic deflects the shot wide.
Min 5 | First chance! Gareth Bale wins a free-kick on the right and thumps a wicked left-footer into the six-yard box. Benzema diverts the ball goalwards but Oblak somehow manages to keep it out.
Min 3 | Atlético have come out in full asphyxiation mode, forcing Madrid deep into their own half and drawing a hospital pass out of the usually reliable Luka Modric, but Pepe steps in to boot the danger away.
Min 2 | Koke makes Casemiro aware of his presence by closing down the Brazilian anchor and clipping him as he clears a ball forward. Clattenburg awards a free-kick but keeps his cards hidden from view.
Min 1 | And we're off...
Warm-ups and sing songs
The all-singing, all-dancing UEFA pre-game extravaganza is about to get underway. Alicia Keys is on the...ahem...keys and sporting a Marge Simpson inspired do. The pyrotecnicians have been conscripted in, not prizes for guessing what she'll be singing...
Andrea Bocelli, wearing avitors and a crisp blue suit, caps off the pre-match entertainment with a powerful rendition of...erm...an opera song before taking command of the Champions League anthem itself. Italia 90-esque.
Less than half an hour to go until Mark Clattenburg turns on his stop watch and signals the start of the game. El Profe Ortega is leading the Rojiblancos through a vigorous warm-up routine, as Sergio Ramos takes on the role of drill sergeant and gets in shouty, inspirational captain mode with his team-mates 45 yards away.
The team sheets are out...
Real Madrid XI: Keylor Navas; Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Pepé, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Atlético XI: Oblak; Juanfran, Godín, Savic, Filipe Luis; Saúl, Gabi, Augusto, Koke; Torres, Griezmann
A momentous night for Madrid, a momentous night for football, it's finally here, the biggest game of the season, the most coveted prize in club football: the Champions League final.
So what's it to be then, eh? Eleventh heaven for Real or first time glory for Atleti?
‘El Plan Zidane’ is down on paper, Simeone’s stalwarts are steeling themselves and the teams are picked.
This is a contest of the individual vs the collective: the individual brilliance of los blancos versus the collective unity of los rojiblancos. The contrasting styles will offer a spectacle that may not be all that spectacular in terms of chances and goals, but should prove a captivating duel.
The difference between the two managers as players reflects the difference between their two teams: the grace, elegance and near-godlike ability of Zinedine Zidane on the ball versus Diego Simeone’s tenacity and willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
Regardless of what happens, it’s going to be a momentous night for the city, never has any other city produced two finalists in the same year, Madrid has now done it twice.
All that matters in the royal city, however, is who will lift the cup high into the Milan sky.
“If there’s any justice left in the world, Atleti will win the Champions League” said Juve goalkeeping legend Gigi Buffon, mirroring the sentiments of many outside the madridista camp.
They came so close in the Lisbon final in the 2013/14 season, seconds from a patented Atleti 1-0 victory, before Sergio Ramos rose to the occasion and headed Real into extra-time.
The rest is history, but there is much more to the Atleti hurt that stretches back 42 years, when they again found themselves within touching distance of European glory, the revered Luis Aragones scored in the second half of extra-time against Bayern Munich in the 1974 final only to have their first continental cup snatched away in the dying seconds by a long-range Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck screamer.
Atleti were so devastated that they lost the replay 4-0 two days later, Uli Hoeness and Gerd Muller scoring two each. Sounds a bit like the extra-time Lisbon capitulation when Ramos’ late equaliser led to Real Madrid running riot and running out 4-1 winners with Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano joining Ramos on the scoresheet.
Some revenge for 1974 was exacted on Bayern by Diego Simeone’s team this season as they dumped Pep Guardiola’s side out in the semi-finals, and now Atleti are training their sights on their illustrious neighbours.
Madrid’s more modest team has had a headlining run to the finals knocking out PSV on penalties and then seeing off Barcelona and Bayern, while Real’s road to Milan included Roma, Wolfsburg, and an underwhelming Manchester City.
Atleti feel like it’s their year after knocking out two of the favourites, but Zizou has a plan: he’ll play the team that gave him their performance of the season – the team that beat Barcelona at Camp Nou.
This is how Real Madrid will line-up: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric; Bale, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Expect Atleti to line up like this: Oblak; Juanfran, Godín, Gimenez, Felipe Luis, Augusto Fernandez, Koke, Gabi, Saúl, Griezmann, Torres.
Bernardo Requena and Hamidou Msaidie, the idealogues in the Real Madrid fitness team, have designed a specific training regime to ready the blanco troops for the May 28 D-day: The focus has been on keeping the intensity high with plenty of cardio and aerobic exercise, without overdoing it and risking injury to key players. Ronaldo caused a scare, but Real come into this at full strength apart from Raphael Varane's absence.
The colchoneros’ training sessions have become the stuff of legend and fitness coach Oscar Ortega no less so; fitness, hard work, tenacity and a collective sense of purpose make up for the lack of superstars in this Atlético side. A club with a working-class DNA has as their slogan; ‘The effort is non-negotiable’.
The team call Ortega ‘El Profe’, which is what Spanish kids calls their teachers, and his pre-match routines are so intense and rhythmic that they’ve been set to Salsa music and viewed thousands of times.
Expect no surprises from Atleti, they’ll play the way that’s got them to the final – physical, uncompromising, tenacious and fiercely competitive, with moments of real class as they move together as one, break in numbers with the guile of Saúl Ñiguez, the quality of Antoine Griezmann enabled by Koke’s vision, fall back on Gabi and Godín’s commitment to the cause and put their faith in the resurgence of the rojiblancos’ favourite son: El Niño Fernando Torres.
“I hope Torres gets the winner”, said Antoine Griezmann this week, imagine that for a story.
Real Madrid will approach this game in a much more tactically astute way than they did after that 0-1 loss to their neighbours back in February in the league. "Losing a derby at home to Atleti is a big blow, it’s hard to take. I am fully responsible for this", said Zidane after the loss. It hurt. Simeone taught madridismo a lesson in tactics and motivation that day - a lesson that Zidane hasn't forgotten.
Zizou’s technical team have been poring over ways to open up the most solid defence in world football. Their idea is to take advantage of the strong central core of Casemiro-Kroos-Modric and give the wing-backs more freedom to rove deep into rojiblanco territory, create overlaps and flank the solid Atleti defensive unit, attacking the by-line. Look for Bale and Ronaldo to switch wings, to interchange with Benzema in the centre and double up out wide.
On the big day, however, it’s up to the players to do things that defy the logic of tactics and instruction. With Real Madrid odds-on to win their first Champions League title, Cristiano Ronaldo was spot-on after the Manchester City semi: "It's a final, finals don’t have favourites”.
Numbers Stats and Facts
- -This is Real Madrid's 14th European Cup final, they've won 10 – more than any other team, and have won their last four finals in a row (1998, 2000, 2002, 2014).
- This is Atlético Madrid's 3rd final (1974, 2014, 2016), losing their previous two finals (vs Bayern Munich, 1974, and Real Madrid, 2014).
- Tonight will be the 3rd time in 4 years that the Champions League final will be contested by teams from the same nation (Germany 2013, Spain 2014, Spain 2016).
- Including tonight, Madrid have made 17 appearances in the Champions League/European Cup final (14 for Real, 3 for Atlético), more than any other city (Milan has 16).
- There will be a Spanish winner of Europe's top competition for the third consecutive season, the longest run for a single nation since English clubs won it six times in a row from 1977 to 1982.
- Atleti have won 7 of their last 16 games against Real Madrid, in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have won all three of their Champions League/European Cup ties against Atlético: 1959 semi-final, 2014 final, 2015 quarter-final.
- The last four competitive games between Real and Atlético have produced only four goals (2 each).
Real Madrid 6/4 to win in 90 minutes, 3/4 to lift the trophy
Atlético Madrid 11/5 to win in 90 minutes, 6/5 to lift the trophy
Draw after 90 minutes 21/10
Match to be decided on penalty shoot-out 9/2
AS English Prediction
There's a gathering of cosmic energy in Atleti's favour, the AS Oracle has spoken:
Atlético Madrid 2 - 1 Real Madrid, Fernando Torres to get the winner.
Kick-off Time and Where to Watch
United Kingdom - BT Sport Europe and BT Sport Ultra HD
Ireland - RTE 2, BT Sport Europe
United States - Fox Soccer 2GO USA, FOX Network, WATCH ESPN
Nigeria - SLGO, Canal+ Sport 1 Afrique, SuperSport 3 Nigeria, SuperSport 3 Africa, SuperSport Select
Spain - Antena 3, beIN Sports Spain, beIN Sports Connect S.P., TV3
India - Ten Action, Ten HD