Ronaldo leads Real Madrid to 12th European Cup title

Spanish giants become first club to retain title in Champions League era

Hundreds of Juventus soccer fans watching the Champions League final in one of Turin’s main squares were injured when loud bangs created a panic and mayhem. Video: Reuters

Real Madrid 4 Juventus 1

Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace helped Real Madrid retain the Champions League in surprisingly comprehensive fashion, wrapping up a historic 12th continental crown by overcoming Juventus in a memorable Cardiff showdown.

The long, arduous journey to European glory culminated under the roof in Wales, where Zinedine Zidane’s men showed their killer instinct to win the title for the third time in four seasons.

Juventus started the brighter and Mario Mandzukic's overhead kick will live long in the memory, but Ronaldo's brace along with efforts from Casemiro and Marco Asensio left Real celebrating a surprisingly comfortable 4-1 win.


Juventus conceded more in Cardiff than the rest of their continental run combined, seeing them slump to a fifth straight final defeat as Madrid became the first side in the Champions League era to retain the trophy.

It was a chastening end to a night the Bianconeri had started superbly.

After Ronaldo opened the scoring by turning home Real’s first shot on goal, Mandzukic scored a sublime overhead kick – surely one of the greatest ever goals ever to grace this stage.

But Juventus’ dreams of a first Champions League title in 21 years ended in heartbreak as Madrid upped the ante, regaining their lead as Casemiro’s 30-yard drive flew home via a deflection.

Matters were quickly compounded as Ronaldo turned home at the near post to take his goal tally for club and country to 600.

Gareth Bale came on late in his hometown final and soon saw Real captain Sergio Ramos's theatrical reaction earning substitute Juan Cuadrado a second booking, with Asensio compounding matters at the death.

Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon was understandably distraught at the final whistle as, at the age of 39, this could well be his last chance to win the only major trophy to elude him.

Many of the Italian fans waited to applaud the runners-up at the Principilatity Stadium, where the roof was closed due to safety and security reasons as vigilance increased in the wake of the Manchester attack.

Everything around the final was planned to the minutest detail, yet the Black Eyed Peas’ pre-match performance saw kick-off delayed by three minutes.

Smoke from the pyrotechnics hung high when play finally got under way, with Juventus flying out of the blocks and moving the ball around with confidence and authority.

Former Real striker Gonzalo Higuain followed an early header and long-range strike that surprised Keylor Navas, with the goalkeeper soon producing a one-handed save as stunning as Miralem Pjanic’s volleyed effort.

Zidane’s men belatedly settled but found Juventus’ defence unsurprisingly difficult to breakdown, with late challenges and smart play denying them a shot until the 20th minute.

It was worth the wait. Superb play saw the ball moved from left to right where Dani Carvajal collected a pass from Ronaldo. The marauding full back sent it straight back to the Portuguese, who swept home a sublime right-footed strike via a slight deflection off Leonardo Bonucci.

The speed and quality of the move was outstanding, with Ronaldo celebrating in front of the Juve fans with typical flamboyance.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side rallied impressively and soon levelled through Mandzukic’s stunner.

Higuain controlled a first-time cross from Alex Sandro and directed onto the Croatian, who cushioned the ball with his chest and produced an effort that left the footballing world open-mouthed.

Mandzukic’s wonderful overhead kick from just inside the box looped home to give Juventus a deserved leveller – a goal they were unable to add to before a breathless first half came to an end.

Real started the second period far better than the first, with Luka Modric and Marcelo having efforts as they pushed forwards in numbers.

Isco directed wide as the Spaniards continued to threaten to score a goal that arrived in the 61st minute.

Casemiro ran onto the loose ball after a shot was blocked, hitting a thundering 30-yard strike that deflected off Sami Khedira’s heels and out of Buffon’s reach.

It was a sickener compounded within three minutes as Madrid put the game out of Juventus’ reach.

Modric hooked the ball back from the byline with outstanding precision, with Ronaldo getting ahead of his man to direct home at the near post.

It was a killer blow that Juventus were unable to recover from.

Ronaldo attempted to complete his hat-trick before Marcelo missed the target, with Zidane bringing on Bale to the delight of the Welsh contingent inside the ground.

A last-ditch challenge prevented him getting on the end of a Ronaldo cross, with Sandro heading wide at the other end.

Matters went from bad to worse for Juventus as Cuadrado picked up a second booking in quick succession. Tempers frayed after Ramos’s theatrical reaction on a night that ended with him lifting the Champions League.

Asensio, on as a late substitute, swept home to add gloss to a memorable victory.