Real Madrid clinch their 12th Champions League
Juventus 1-4 Real Madrid: Match report
Real Madrid sealed a historic win as they overcame a nervy opening half to earn a 12th European Cup win and the first back-to-back in the Champions League era thanks to goals from Ronaldo (2), Casemiro and Marco Asensio.
In a game that was billed as the best attack versus the best defense in Europe, Real Madrid laid claim to both as they refused to give Juventus' two talismen in Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala an inch while continuing to look dangerous up front.
Ronaldo and Real take the lead
Ronaldo gave Real Madrid the lead after 20 minutes when he slotted home thanks to a Leonardo Bonucci deflection. With Gianluigi Buffon sprawling for it, he had no chance of stopping the LaLiga champions from taking the lead.
Juventus had restored parity just seven minutes later when Mario Mandzukic looped an overhead kick over the head of Keylor Navas' as the Costa Rican scrambled to get a hand to it. Juventus grabbed the game by the collar at that point and it was starting to feel like an excercise in survival for the reigning champions.
Half time arrived, however, and the draw was still in tact.
Whatever Zidane said at half-time took hold of Real Madrid because Isco, who had been peripheral, got involved and Modric started to really take control of the middle. The rest is history because Casemiro struck on 61 minutes from outside the box to give Real Madrid their second lead of the night. The shot took a deflection off Sami Khedira and with Buffon sprawling again, Real Madrid poked their heads back in front.
That lead was doubled just three minutes later when Modric (who else) crossed only for Ronaldo to clip one beyond Buffon in the coolest of fashions and at that point, it seemed like lights out for the Serie A champions.
Their slender hopes were dealt another blow when Juan Cuadrado was sent off for two yellows within 17 minutes of coming on as a sub when he fouled Ronaldo for his first and then stood on Sergio Ramos for his second to receive his marching orders.
Those very slender hopes dissipated into the Cardiff night sky when Marco Asensio finished after some great work by Marcelo down the left-hand side to make the score 4-1 on the night and as good as guarantee Real Madrid their second Champions League in as many years and their third in four.
Zinedine Zidane has managed 20 Champions League games and won it twice while Ronaldo continues to break records in the competition. His two goals push him one ahead of Lionel Messi in the Champions League this season and he has now won the competition's top scorer on six occasions.
Real Madrid finish with a European and domestic league double for the first time in 59 years and there is reason to believe that this team are not finished yet.
Juventus vs Real Madrid live stream: Champions League final latest news
Juventus vs Real Madrid live stream: match preview
The National Stadium of Wales will be the stage for what promises to be a Champions League final for the ages as Real Madrid's swash-buckling attack takes on Juventus' hard-nosed defence on Saturday night. The game will be played with a closed roof on the stadium as security measures are beefed up following the Manchester attack that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert.
Juventus owner Andrea Agnelli has put his money where his mouth is and offered his squad a €350,000 bonus should they emerge out of Cardiff victorious on Saturday night. The Old Lady have a squad filled with emerging talent, cult heroes and players in their prime, which makes them a particularly interesting side to be facing Real Madrid.
Dani Alves promised Barcelona's board of directors one thing when they refused to re-sign him. "You'll miss me," he said and the right-back, who was said to be over the hill, has turned in some memorable and magical performances in the black and white this season. Iker Casillas, a Real Madrid legend, says he is particularly torn for the match as he wants Gigi Buffon to win a Champions League before he retires. The Italian goalkeeper has done it, won it and seen it all in his career but a successful Champions League final night continues to elude him.
Paulo Dybala is seen as Lionel Messi's heir apparent and will cause all sorts of problems as he drops between the lines and links up with the out-and-out number nine in Gonzalo Higuaín - a former Real Madrid player who has taken his game and goalscoring to new heights since his departure from the Santiago Bernabéu. They are joined by Mario Mandzukic as a more defensive forward, who used to play for Atlético Madrid and will be keen to avenge his former team's loss in the semi-final to their city rivals.
Real Madrid are aiming to become the first team to win the Champions League in back-to-back seasons and are also on the cusp of landing their first league and European double since 1958.
The big question mark hanging over Zinedine Zidane's team selection is whether he goes with Gareth Bale, the hometown boy returning to Cardiff to win a Champions League medal, or Isco, the in-form creative midfielder who has dazzled in recent weeks when given the opportunity in place of Bale. Zidane says he has his mind made up and that, "They're both very important players and everyone can give their opinion but it won't influence me."
Cristiano Ronaldo entered the home stretch of this season in the finest physical condition he has been in in years and has put it down to the rest he was afforded during the season and the genius of Zidane. He hit back-to-back hat-tricks against Bayern Munich and Atlético in the quarter and semi-finals of the competition but is coming up against the stingiest defence he has met all year with Buffon and his back three (or possibly four) conceding just three goals in 12 games in the competiton.
Ronaldo went against the party line that Real Madrid players and staff have been stating in the build-up by saying that while some humility is good, too much is not and Real have to understand that they are the better team. This came on the back of Zidane, as coy as always, declaring that it was a 50-50 game.
The bottom line is that the narratives in this one are never-ending for both sides. Can Zidane win two Champions Leagues in two seasons? Will Bale play a role in his hometown? Can Buffon lay his hands on the Champions League? We are going to find out soon as two European powerhouses prepare for a showdown on Saturday night.
Juventus vs Real Madrid live stream online: possible line-ups
Juventus: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro, Khedira, Pjanic, Alves, Dybala, Mandzukic, Higuaín
Coach: Massimiliano Allegri
Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Kroos, Benzema, Cristiano
Coach: Zinedine Zidane
Juventus vs Real Madrid stream online: some stats to chew on
The 2016-17 Champions League began on June 28, 2016 in Estonia, with a 2-1Flora win over Lincoln. The first goal of the tournament was scored by Rauno Alliku after 35 minutes. 78 teams have participated, 216 matches have been played and 614 goals have been scored. The top scorers of the competition are Lionel Messi (11), Cristiano Ronaldo (10), Edinson Cavani (8), Robert Lewandowski (8) and Sergio Aguero (8). The players with the most assist are Neymar (8), Cristiano Ronaldo (5), Ousmane Dembélé (5) and Raheem Sterling (5). Of the players of both teams who have reached the final, only Cristiano Ronaldo has played every possible minute (1,110).
After Saturday night's final, the Juventus and Real Madrid rivalry will become the second most repeated game in the history of European competitions (19 times, which is the same as Barcelona vs. AC Milan). It is only behind the 24 clashes that have seen Bayern Munich pitted against Real Madrid. All of the games between the Spanish and Italian giants were played in the European Cup and the record could not be more even: eight wins for each team and two draws.
Wales will play host to it's second ever European final on Saturday night after hosting the 2014 Super Cup in which Real Madrid defeated Sevilla in Cardiff 2-0 with two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo. The Millennium Stadium hosted the FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield finals over the years (2001-2006) when the New Wembley was under construction.
Juventus vs Real Madrid live stream: Champions League final betting
There isn't much in it in the bookies' eyes, with Real Madrid slight favourites to beat Juventus and become the first club side to retain the trophy in the Champions League era.
Follow the live coverage match of the 2017 UEFA Super Cup: Real Madrid-Manchester United