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Real Madrid beat Liverpool: the most beautiful Champions League yet

Update:

It’s Real Madrid’s fourteenth European Cup, but it’s not just one more. It’s been the Champions League of pure faith, won by a group of players who round-by-round knocked out, in the toughest of conditions, teams we thought were better. And we thought they were because, in footballing terms, they were. But that would be forgetting the intangible: the winning spirit that drives Madrid and has done since Di Stéfano joined. It’s been more evident in this edition of the Champions League than ever. Against PSG, against Chelsea, against Manchester City... and last night against Liverpool, who dominated the match with their punishing rhythm, but finished defeated.

Courtois was MVP

It was the night of Courtois, an imperious goalkeeper; Liverpool’s best couldn’t find a way round him. Because Klopp’s team played well and created chances. At the end of the match someone from the television asked Real Madrid coach Ancelotti if he’d seen any other keeper stop as much as Courtois had. “Yes... Courtois in another match,” was the reply. He was without doubt the Champions League final MVP, but highlighting him doesn’t take anything away from the efforts of the rest, from Carvajal - who had his best game of the season - to Vinicius, who scored the goal that puts him into the history books of Real Madrid. The entire team fought well, playing in the only way they could, with long balls to try and cope with the constant pressure.

A night that puts the disappointment of Mbappé in the past

It was a fine night for Real Madrid, a superb triumph and one that more than offsets the Mbappé disappointment. And it also, with apologies, backs up the credibility of the Champions League, UEFA’s most important creation. The fears that the Super League rebellion would affect the referees didn’t come to pass. In other matters, Liverpool should be congratulated for what they did on the pitch, but not for what happened off it. The ticketless fans caused a right scene at the gates* to the ground that could have led to a disaster; thankfully it only caused a delay. But the situation cannot go unpunished.

*Note that UEFA have released a statement saying that the problems at the ground were caused by fans who had purchased fake tickets.

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