Real Madrid have finally won the “décima”, their tenth European league title, after beating city neighbours Atlético Madrid in a dramatic Champions League final! Both teams came in to the match on their last legs after a grueling season, Pepe and Arda Turan failing late fitness tests but Ronaldo, Benzema and Diego Costa all coming through to line up at the start (although Costa lasted less than ten minutes before he had to go off). The start was tense though, and there were few chances in the first half hour, Ronaldo testing Courtois with a long free kick and Bale intercepting a poor pass by Tiago and running on to shoot just wide. With ten minutes to go to the break however Atlético took a surprise lead, Godín looping a header over an out of position Casillas after Juanfran headed a corner back in to the penalty area.
After the restart Madrid did most of the attacking, Courtois saving from another Ronaldo free kick and Bale shooting wide a couple of times, but just when it looked as if Atlético were going to hold on, Ramos got above the defence to head Modric’s corner in to the net. That took the game into 30 minutes extra time, and with ten minutes to go Courtois could only get a hand to Di María’s shot, and the ball bounced across for Bale to head it in on the far post. Atlético were finished, and in the last three minutes Marcelo ran on to score a third, and Ronaldo made it four from the penalty spot after Gabi pushed him over in the area, his own 17 th goal of the competition this year.
A frustrated Simeone got himself sent off after the final whistle for his protests, but he has done his side proud this year, winning the league last week and seeing his team lose the European title in the last minute, as they did in their only other European cup final appearance many years ago. They will surely be back! Bragging right though go to Madrid, and Ancelotti can rest easy. He had reportedly been told that if he didn’t win this one he was out. They set the bar pretty high in the Bernabeu! (24.05.14)