Real Madrid win Champions League again

Real Madrid’s Champions League existence resembles the competition’s version of a high-wire act, where the Spanish giants stumble and threaten to fall so many times, but rarely do.

Boss Carlo Ancelotti claimed a historic fifth Champions League title and Real secured their 15th win in the tournament as the bold challenge of Borussia Dortmund was overcome at Wembley with late goals from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Jr.

As Ancelotti and his players hoisted the giant trophy amid pyrotechnics and fireworks over the stadium, it was a familiar conclusion to a story that had so many elements of the old plotlines.

It is not quite a case of “if you’ve seen one of these victories you’ve seen them all”, but many of the opponents Real have left broken-hearted in these finals in recent years – Atletico Madrid and Liverpool chief among them – will sympathise with the pain Dortmund felt as they walked forlornly in front of their magnificent fans who illuminated Wembley with their colour and made it echo to their noise.

Real stumbled around in a dreadful first half for Ancelotti’s side, spooked by Dortmund’s pace and the sheer intensity of Edin Terzic’s side, living on their nerves and luck to somehow go in at half-time on level terms.

Karim Adeyemi will wonder whether he should have shot rather than try to go around Real keeper Thibaut Courtois when clean through, then whether he could have done better with another chance that was saved.

Niclas Fullkrug saw his shot bounce back agonisingly from the inside of the post, the striker thwarted by Courtois after the break from a powerful header.

And all the time there was a growing sense of inevitability that Real would survive and prevail when they looked deep in trouble, as they did against Manchester City in the quarter-finals and Bayern Munich in the last four.

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