Particularly after the world player of the year ensured Madrid pulled off one of soccer’s hardest feats, becoming the first team to successfully defend their Champions League title.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after Real’s victory over Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final.
“Zidane believes in us a lot”, Ronaldo said.
“We won the (Spanish) league on the very last day”.
But Bale was reduced to the role of bit-part player after recent injury problems, sent on only for the final 13 minutes at the National Stadium of Wales with the game already won.
The moment also belonged to Real Madrid coach Zinedane Zidane, who can point to a pair of Champions League trophies and a La Liga crown after just 18 months at the helm. “They showed their class and the attitude needed to play in this kind of game”.
Ronaldo was handed the man-of-the-match award by Sir Alex Ferguson, his former manager at Manchester United, after a display that made Madrid fans who have previously whistled him look all the more absurd.
“The players have entered into the legend of Real Madrid and of football, as has our coach”, said club president Florentino Perez, as he reserved special praise for Zinedine Zidane.
“In the first half we played beautifully”.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t manage it”. (Miralem) Pjanic’s shot was deflected wide, Casemiro’s shot was deflected into the goal. Against Real Betis in March, he was lucky to avoid a red card before fumbling Antonio Sanabria’s strike over the line, but Madrid ran out 2-1 winners.
The four time Ballon D’Or victor got a haircut days after winning the Champions League for the third time in his career. “We are winning trophies and I am happy”.
Zidane’s joy was his former club Juve’s despair, Massimiliano Allegri’s side crashing to a fifth successive defeat in Champions League finals and seventh in total, extending their own desperately unwanted record.
“I can’t say whether I’ll stay for the rest of my life but I’m so grateful for the club for everything it has given me”, he said.
“It’s been an extraordinary season”.
He described Ronaldo, who scored twice in the Champions League final win over Juventus, as “a machine with the hunger he has”.
But Juventus had started brightly and they were level seven minutes later thanks to a stunning overhead volley from Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic. “Unluckily, we didn’t win it”. “I think we feel that we are an incredible team”.