Cristiano Ronaldo wrote another chapter in his remarkable career as he starred in Real Madrid’s 4-1 win over Juventus to retain the Champions League in Cardiff.
Ronaldo was joined on the pitch afterwards by his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez, brother Hugo Aveiro and Cristiano Jr, who was clearly overcome with emotion after seeing his father spearhead another memorable night for Europe’s most successful club.
The 32-year-old was the star performer, scoring twice to take his tally to 104 Champions League goals – and he was congratulated by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in the tunnel after the fourth triumph of his career in the competition.
The celebrations will last long into the early hours of Sunday morning after Madrid overpowered the Serie A champions to be crowned Champions of Europe once more, with Gareth Bale playing his part. Barcelona congratulated their fiercest rivals via Twitter and they were not alone.
Even the American rapper will.i.am, back fronting the Black Eyed Peas, wanted to be part of the celebrations as he collared Ronaldo for a word prior to the trophy presentation.
Ronaldo was voted man of the match as he reached 600 career goals with another brace against the Old Lady, either side of Mario Mandzukic’s sublime equaliser that had put the game in the balance at half-time.
But having shaded the opening 45 minutes, Massimiliano Allegri’s side were outplayed thereafter and while Madrid become the first side to retain the trophy in 27 years, since AC Milan, it would appear Gianluigi Buffon will never get his hands on Europe’s most coveted prize.
When asked about Zidane’s incredible record since taking charge at Madrid, he added: ‘Everything he touches turns to gold. This is a guy that has been under a lot of pressure. They’ve got to reward him with a long contract, he deserves it.
Fellow BT Sport analyst Rio Ferdinand was equally effusive of Madrid’s performance on the biggest stage, after the pre-match hype came to fruition in Cardiff.
The former Manchester United defender said of Madrid’s performance: ‘The demand and the pressure on this club is huge. The achievement is unbelievable. They’re not as pleasing on the ye as the Barcelona team of a few years ago, but they’ve bought into Zidane’s tactics and they don’t panic. The game could’ve got away from them but they gathered themselves.
‘Ramos’ experience is telling and he cruised through this game, as have many of them. Juventus were undone by the better team. Real Madrid took this game away from them.
‘Juventus were the better team in the first half, but the experience and belief in themselves came out an blew them away in the second half. They were dispatched and it’s a fantastic result.’