Zidane's composure and Cristiano's unbridled ambition
Another one! Twelve! Glory reigned over Real Madrid in Cardiff last night, as Zidane’s players confirmed that they have an insatiable appetite for success. One of them in particular - Cristiano Ronaldo. He scored the opening goal, when the team looked disjointed and were being overrun by a dominant and self-assured Juventus. He found the net again later to make it 3-1, a goal which was a sucker punch to the Italians. But alongside him, the whole team reacted superbly after the half-time interval. Up until then, Juve had controlled the game with their positioning, security and ambition. At the break, the madridistas realized that if they couldn’t change the direction in which the game was heading, they would end up being the ones collecting the losers’ medals. Zidane’s team emerged in the second half with a different outlook, determined to defend the trophy which they have made their own: the Champions League.
Juventus picked apart in Cardiff
Going into last night’s final, Juventus had only conceded three goals in the whole tournament. And they let in four last night... That was all down to how Madrid approached the second half when they took the game to Allegri’s team. They started by trying to get in behind Barzagli. From that moment onwards, Madrid controlled the centre of the park and the match. Isco, who had been uninspired in the first half, took the game by the scruff of the neck and joined Modric in exercising their authority in the midfield. Juve vanished. Dybala, who had been exquisite in the first half, simply disappeared while Higuaín and Mandzukic looked lost and bewildered. Dani Alves resorted to bickering and confrontation. And cracks started to appear in Juventus’ hitherto unshakeable defence , as Carvajal and Marcelo attacked from both flanks and Cristiano lurked menacingly in the box.
Zidane's magic touch has transformed Madrid
Two goals from Cristiano, three in the semi-final against Atlético, five in the quarter final against Bayern... that is truly an astonishing feat. And yet not quite as astonishing as what Zidane has managed to achieve – little over a year ago, he took over a team whose performances had been erratic and he has converted the same men into this – an unstoppable machine which has not failed to score in any of their last 65 games. And his team have now won two consecutive Champions Leagues – a feat which no team has ever done until now. This most recent triumph was decked with a festival of goals. Now it’s time to enjoy this latest success and look forward with hope to two mouth-watering Supercup showdowns this summer – the Spanish one against Barça and the European Super Cup clash with José Mourinho’s Manchester United. Real Madrid and Madridismo are in their element and little by little, their legendary status is being augmented even further.
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