Saturday 1 October 2016

5 things we learned from the Champions League final

Published 28/05/2016 | 23:05

Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric (C) lifts the trophy after Real Madrid won the UEFA Champions League final football match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at San Siro Stadium. /Getty Images
Real Madrid's Croatian midfielder Luka Modric (C) lifts the trophy after Real Madrid won the UEFA Champions League final football match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at San Siro Stadium. /Getty Images

Real Madrid won the European Cup for the 11th time with a penalty shoot-out win over city rivals Atletico at the San Siro following a 1-1 draw.

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Here, we look at five things we learned from the match:

England better beware Bale in France

The man who will carry Welsh hopes at Euro 2016 was for long periods the best player on the pitch in a match which few in the England squad came close to reaching. If he is on song in Lens on June 16 then he looks more than capable of wreaking havoc against an English defence which has often looked far from assured.

Diego Simeone tailor-made for the Premier League

The Atletico boss saw his side totally outplayed in the first half, his opposite number Zinedine Zidane clearly winning the tactical battle. However, Simeone's introduction of Belgium international Yannick Carrasco at the break helped his side gain a foothold in a midfield in which they were being over-run - and eventually gain control of the contest. The hot-headed Argentinian's energetic cheer-leading on the touchline would go down a treat in England.

No stopping Ronaldo

Real's main man endured a frustrating night. Largely uninvolved as his side dominated the first half, with Bale taking centre stage, he could not exert his influence when his side needed it most as Atletico began to take control in the second. He failed to score with a free header in extra-time, but stepped up when it mattered to slam home the winning penalty.

What is it about Atletico Madrid and goalkeepers?

He may have ended up on the losing side, but Atletico keeper Jan Oblak only enhanced his reputation with a fine display. Los Rojiblancos have lost brilliant stoppers in David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois in recent years, but they clearly have another on their hands, even though Real's penalties in the shoot-out were just too good.

What about the football?

For the second time in a week a cup final kicked off late due to the pre-match 'entertainment' over-running. Last weekend it was Tinie Tempah at the FA Cup at Wembley, here Alicia Keys finished her set moments before the scheduled 7.45pm kick off time. How about this for a bit of radical thinking: as it's a football match, let's focus on the football please.

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