UEFA Champions League Final | FA Wales
History was made in 2017 at the UEFA Champions League finals that were held in Cardiff, Wales. The match featured two of the more decorated clubs in Champions League history, with Italian Serie A squad Juventus facing Cristiano Ronaldo and the storied Real Madrid. It was a rematch of the 1998 Champions League finals which was a closely contested match that saw Real Madrid win by a score of one to nil. The 2017 match was not quite as competitive, as Real Madrid pulled away in the second half, winning by a margin of 4-1.
12th Champions League Title
The victory clinched Real Madrid its record twelfth Champions League title in its fifteenth Champions League Finals, also a record. Real Madrid also became the first team to successfully defend a Champions League title and is only the fourth team to win three in a four-year span.
Juventus controlled the play early, dominating the first twenty minutes of the match but failed to capitalize on any of its chances. In the twentieth minute, who else but current Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock with a laser that deflected off the right foot of Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci. But Juve countered just seven minutes later on a beautiful over-the-shoulder effort by Mario Mandzukic, often cited as one of the greatest goals in Champions League finals history.
The score remained tied until the sixty-first minute when Brazillian midfielder Casemiro had his long-range strike deflect in off of another Juventus defender. This would ultimately prove to be the winning goal, although Ronaldo would add his second of the game just a few minutes later. The scoring was capped off in the ninetieth minute with a tap-in goal by Marco Asensio, but the celebrations had already begun on the sidelines, as well as back in Madrid.
Of note, the game also featured hometown Welsh star and Cardiff-born Gareth Bale who played for Real Madrid until 2020, at which point he rejoined his old club Tottenham in the English Premier League. Bale would prove instrumental in the 2018 Champions League finals when Real Madrid would become the first-ever team to win three consecutive titles. Bale notched two goals in the win, as Real Madrid defeated the English squad, Liverpool, by a score of 3-1.
In the end, the Real Madrid team anchored by Ronaldo, Bale, and captain Sergio Ramos proved to be too much for Juventus. It was a banner year for both squads though so nothing should be taken away from Juventus. The Italian squad captured the Coppa Italia that season, as well as the Serie A title. Real Madrid on the other hand clinched the double championship season after securing the La Liga in May, before securing its second consecutive Champions League title in June. This iteration of the Real Madrid dynasty is often considered one of the best teams in Champions League history.