Mandzukic cracker answers Ronaldo opener in final

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has made a big call in his Champions League final selection, with Gareth Bale being left on the bench.

Mario Mandzukic's quite brilliant overhead kick had almost everyone watching the Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid applauding.

The last side to conquer Europe and go on to retain the title was AC Milan (1989 & 1990), when the competition was simply called the European Cup, but since then no-one has been able to recreate the feat.

After Casemiro put the Spanish champions back in front in the 61st, Ronaldo turned in his 600th career goal at the near post three minutes later, and Marco Asensio wrapped up a record-extending 12th title in the 90th.

"Zidane gave us a very positive half-time team talk and told us he really believed in us", the Portuguese added.

That made Ronaldo the second man to score in three finals, after Alfredo Di Stefano, who netted in five in a row for Real in the 1950s. To finish the year with the Champions League and the record.

"But Real Madrid have important players and when they have a player (Ronaldo) who wins the Ballon d'Or it's a huge advantage".

"Again, I've had an unbelievable season", said Ronaldo.

Mario Mandzukic equalised for the Old Lady in the first half with a stunning overhead kick after Ronaldo had given the Spanish side the lead.

"When I look at my squad, what's good is that they're all ready and willing to play".

His impact was not lost on Juventus manager Max Allegri, who highlighted the role Ronaldo played in Real's victory amid his frustration at falling short of what would have been a treble for the Italian club. In 2000, the England worldwide scored Real's second in a 3-0 win over Valencia at the Stade de France, volleying in from the edge of the box after Valencia headed a throw in clear. Juve are slight underdogs and no one would have thought less of them for losing the 2017 final, while Zidane was under massive pressure to deliver after becoming the most expensive player ever. You can see the best defenders against probably the best strike force, so I think it is going to be a fantastic game. The numbers don't lie.

Juventus reduced to 10 men as Juan Cuadrado gets a second yellow card and he is sent off!

  • Julie Sanders