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From Macdara Ferris in Cardiff
Cristiano Ronaldo, the star of a star-studded Real Madrid team, earned his man of the match award in the Champions League Final on Saturday evening, scoring two goals to help his team claim their twelfth European Cup.
He accepted his award from Alex Ferguson in the press room after the game and, after the UEFA Super Cup in 2014, it meant it wasn’t the first time he had been handed such an award in a tent outside a football stadium in Cardiff!
Ronaldo isn’t immune to criticism and when asked about how certain fans in the Bernabeu have reacted to him this season, he simply said that the “numbers don’t lie.”
They certainly don’t, as the Portuguese star scored 16 goals in his last ten games and a remarkable ten goals across the quarter, semi and final of this year’s Champions League – all of which brought him to 42 goals across all competitions.
A smiling Ronaldo, speaking to the press as he sat alongside Ferguson, described a season when they won the league and European Cup double for the first time in 59 years as “fantastic”.
"Me and my team-mates have done the double,” said Ronaldo. “The numbers don't lie. I'm very happy, it has been an amazing season. This is one of the best moments of my career – I have the chance to say this every year!
“The squad has been great and it's been good for me individually too. I prepared myself well for the final part of the season and I scored some important goals.”
Real were lucky not to be a goal behind in the opening period of the game as Juventus dominated. Real’s opening goal from Ronaldo came from a devastating counter attack.
While the Italians equalized soon after with Mario Mandzuci’s stunning overhead kick, it was the Spanish team who kicked on in the second half. Real managed to score three goals in the second 45 minutes against a Juve side that had only let in three in the previous 12 matches in this season’s Champions League.
"It was a very even game. Juve played very well in the first half, creating some opportunities, but in the second half we were very impressive. I think it's the best second half we've had this season. The Champions League is always hard to win, especially against a team that had only let in three goals so far this season.”
For managerial reaction from both clubs, see Zidane - We were spectacular in the second half.