Real Madrid won the UEFA Champions League for the 10th time thanks to extra-time goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo as they came from behind in dramatic circumstances to beat Atletico Madrid 4-1 in Lisbon on Saturday.
Atletico seemed set for their first ever European crown as they led deep into stoppage-time thanks to Diego Godin’s first-half header, but Sergio Ramos took the game into extra-time with a towering header in the 93rd minute. Then for the second time this season having already scored the winner to hand Real the Copa del Rey against Barcelona last month, Bale scored the crucial goal when he headed into an empty net after Thibaut Courtois had parried Angel di Maria’s effort.
With Atletico committed to finding an equalizer, Real were able to counterattack at will and Marcelo killed the game off when his low shot had too much power for Courtois, before Ronaldo sealed his return to Lisbon with a fourth from the penalty spot.
“It is the most important goal I have scored,” Ramos said. “It is an incredible feeling. We kept fighting until the end for the fans. It is not my goal, but one for all Madrid fans, my family and all those that have supported us until the end. We deserved it after so many years.”
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti became the first man since Liverpool manager Bob Paisley to win the competition three times.
“We have done it with a lot of suffering and difficulty, but in the end we have done it and we deserved it,” the Italian said. “I am very happy for this because we have won a trophy that for Real Madrid is very important. We have worked hard all year for this.”
Atletico captain Gabi admitted that his side had been well-beaten in extra-time after suffering the body blow of Ramos’ equalizer.
“They managed to equalize and that is football,” he told Television Espanola. “After the extra-time they were deserving winners. We have competed for a year like animals and we have gone as far as we could.”
However, Atletico boss Diego Simeone said no tears should be shed given his side’s amazing success in winning La Liga and reaching the final for just the second time in their history.
“This match doesn’t deserve a single tear,” the Argentine said. “When you give everything you cannot ask for more. There is another team and other players out there and that is football. Now we have to rest, relax and prepare ourselves to compete and bother the big teams again next season.”
Atletico’s top scorer Diego Costa had been surprisingly included in Simeone’s starting lineup, despite suffering a hamstring injury just seven days ago as Atletico clinched the Spanish title against Barcelona.
However, the Brazilian-born striker lasted just nine minutes before he hobbled off to be replaced by Adrian Lopez.
Bale had the first clear chance of the match when the Welshman pounced on Tiago’s errant pass in midfield and scampered forward into the penalty area, but side-footed wide on his favored left foot.
Three minutes later it was Atletico who took the lead when Juanfran headed a cleared corner back into the area and Godin took advantage of indecision by Iker Casillas to loop the ball over the Spain captain and just over the line.
Ronaldo had a couple of half-chances to level at the start of the second half as Courtois awkwardly tipped another free-kick from distance over, before the Portugal captain headed just wide from a corner.