Last night Real Madrid were crowned champions of Europe once again when they beat their derby rivals Atletico Madrid for La Undecima. In a game full of raw emotions, both the keepers were at their best parrying away the opposition shots. A moment of chaos in Atletico’s defense led to Real Madrid breaking the deadlock through their captain Sergio Ramos when he guided in the Toni Kroos’ free kick towards the goal. Jan Oblak did little wrong after that and Atletico hit full throttle attacking Keylor Navas from left, right and center. Mere minutes into the second half Atletico got a lifeline when Pepe brought down Fernando Torres in the box. Unfortunately for Atletico, Griezmann filed to convert the penalty. Later on, a well co-ordinated attack from Atletico in 79th minute brought the game back to them when Carrasco nailed the equalizer.
Remaining few minutes and two extra times later, the game finally ended in a stalemate at 1-1 which led to the penalty shootouts. A calm finish by both the parties for the first seven goals showed no signs of either sides buckling to pressure. However, during the eight penalty, Atletico defender Juanfran lost the nerve and hit the post. The deciding penalty was then taken by the Real Madrid’s best ever goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo and he didn’t fail to deliver. He flawlessly he slotted the ball home bringing the title back to Santiago Bernabau
Real Madrid are the most decorated club in European history. Their closest competition in Europe – AC Milan with 7 European titles have fallen out of the race long ago and have been doing some rebuilding these years. Behind AC Milan are Barcelona and Liverpool with 5 titles each. While the former although arguably on par with performances these days have a lot of catching up to do, the latter have suffered the same fate of AC Milan.
When seen from the perspective of fan-base, revenues, economic stature and silverwares the only two clubs one can think of that can be mentioned in the same breath as Real Madrid are their archrivals Barcelona and Bundesliga’s Bayern Munich. Not taking anything away from Atletico who have really stepped out of Real’s shadows and are giving them the fight of their lives for La Liga and Champions League on a consistent basis with much limited resources lately, they remain far off in terms of silverware and economic stature. However, Atletico do have earned a lot of fans in their journey to establish themselves as one of the European elites.
When and who will dethrone Real Madrid as ‘Kings of Europe’ remains to be seen. But we don’t expect it to happen in the near future especially when their title count in Champions League is ‘11 and counting…’
Ali Shaan Haider
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