Saturday 24 February 2018

Eamon Dunphy's analysis of Champions League final sends Twitter into tailspin

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid scores the winning penalty. Photo: Getty
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid scores the winning penalty. Photo: Getty

Tom Rooney

One can’t help wonder if Eamon Dunphy still derives a genuine thrill from the reaction his commentary elicits, but if he does, then the furore on Twitter following last night’s Champions League final will have been very pleasing.

Only the most wide-eyed of apologists would deem the 2016 finale to European club football as anything other than fairly forgettable.

It was, on paper at least, a Champions League final that promised so much. A pair of fierce local rivals going head-to-head for all the marbles for the second time in three seasons no less.

Hell bent on avenging 2014’s crushing defeat, Diego Simeone’s spirited and militarised Atletico were pitted against their opulent crosstown rivals, draped in regal white and brimming with self-obsessed Galcticos.

Surely an epic battle of philosophies and values was afoot. Not so, unfortunately. Nobody could fault either side for endeavour but, given the talent on display, the fare was all too bland.

Eamon Dunphy

A half-crocked Cristiano Ronaldo offered little, though Gareth Bale sporadically sparkled, while Atletico’s star man Antoine Griezmann, who missed a second half penalty, was painfully peripheral.

Sergio Ramos’ first half opener was cancelled out by Carrasco 11 minutes from the end, before extra time and penalties followed. When Juanfran failed to convert his spot-kick, Ronaldo stepped up and scored the decisive penalty, ensuring the inevitable shirt removal.

Sitting alongside his old muckers Liam Brady and John Giles on the RTE panel, Dunphy took centre stage and waxed lyrical to Darragh Moloney.

He lamented the tragic decline of Fernando Torres, questioned Simeone’s game plan and Atletico’s choice of penalty-takers and generally eviscerated the standard of the previous 120 minutes. There was, of course, the customary attack on Ronaldo’s character, or lack thereof.

Furthermore, Dunphy went on to claim that, outside of Lionel Messi, Louis Suarez and Ronaldo, the European game was shorn of quality players.

As you’d expect, the diatribe proved quite polarising

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