Real Madrid has been crowned kings of Europe once again.
For a record 14th time, Real Madrid is champion of Europe after holding Liverpool goalless at the Stade de France in Paris.
Vinícius Júnior’s 59th minute goal proved to be the difference for the Spanish giants while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois earned himself Man of the Match honors with nine saves on the night, including multiple spectacular efforts to deny Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.
Real Madrid’s Champions League run was nothing short of legendary. Real overcame aggregate deficits in stunning fashion in each of the knockout stages against powerhouses like Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City before defeating Liverpool in the final. Although he didn’t score in the final, Karim Benzema stole the show with 10 goals in seven knockout games, including two hat tricks to jump to the forefront of the Ballon d’Or conversation.
With the win, Carlo Ancelotti becomes the most decorated individual in Champions League history after winning two as a player and four as a manager, which includes eight years in between wins with Real.
Things got off to a delayed start at the Stade de France as kickoff was pushed back by 15 minutes due to crowd congestion issues with fans still filing into the stadium. That
delay was then extended to 30 minutes as reports were confirmed saying that police also used pepper spray to control the crowds.
But after a 37-minute delay, the game finally got underway in Paris as fans continued to file in. No shots came from either side in the first 15 minutes, but things started to kick off in the 16th minute with Liverpool pushing the pace. Pouncing on a couple of quick chances, Salah saw two separate chances saved by Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois, including one reaction shot directly in front of goal
Liverpool continued to put the pressure on with a seemingly perfect chance in the 21st minute courtesy of Mané. The winger cut in past two defenders and ripped a low shot that seemed destined for goal. But Courtois came up with a strong fingertip save that sent the ball off the post and back to the keeper to keep things scoreless.
The chances continued to fall in Liverpool’s favor with Salah getting another quality shot at goal. In the center of the penalty area, the Egyptian star had a dangerous header from a sharp cross but sent the chance directly at Courtois