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Media reaction: 'What drama, what a finish'

Published: Sunday 25 May 2014, 15.30CET
Europe's media reflect on Saturday's final, with L'Équipe hailing Real Madrid CF's triumph in Lisbon "a miracle" a victory AS said was born in the club's "unbreakable faith".
Media reaction: 'What drama, what a finish'
Real Madrid players celebrate after returning to the Spanish capital ©Getty Images
 
 
 
Published: Sunday 25 May 2014, 15.30CET

Media reaction: 'What drama, what a finish'

Europe's media reflect on Saturday's final, with L'Équipe hailing Real Madrid CF's triumph in Lisbon "a miracle" a victory AS said was born in the club's "unbreakable faith".

Spain
'Faith gives Madrid the Décima' says the daily AS in its match report accompanied by a big picture of captain Iker Casillas receiving the UEFA Champions League trophy. The daily adds: "The Décima had to be special, and it was. It couldn't be just another Cup, just another triumph, in the same way that the joy at winning it wouldn't be comparable.

"But the ecstasy of this title has to be set beside the utter grief of Atlético. Real's city neighbours, with fans of both sides sharing apartment buildings, offices, supermarkets. Real's heroics, born from the unbreakable faith of the team in the final throws of the 90 minutes, are an infinite cruelty from the perspective of Atlético."

Marca, meanwhile, focuses on the power of the comeback for Real Madrid, just when all seemed lost. "An epic Décima" is their title, going on to say: "Real Madrid won the coveted tenth European Cup and remain true to their history, fighting a final that was lost until the 93rd minute.

"Godín's header in the first half, after an error by Iker Casillas, put Atleti ahead and they had one hand on the trophy. Sergio Ramos, with a splendid header in injury time, forced overtime where Madrid won with goals from Bale, Marcelo and a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo."

England
Gareth Bale is the toast of the British press after capping a memorable debut campaign in Spain by scoring the goal that kick-started their extra-time salvo. "Bale's first season in Spain has been a roaring success with a crowning moment. He was worn his ridiculous price tag with equanimity and added tactical awareness and vision to his game," writes Paul Hayward of The Telegraph.

Bale: ''Dream come true'

"He has played the role of understudy to Ronaldo without allowing himself to be subservient. Bale's measure as a player – and the marker for the future – is that missing two chances failed to break his resolve to thrive in probably the most pressurised football environment of all. He wears that price tag like a feather." Sid Lowe also bestows lavish praise on the Wales forward in the Guardian, adding: "This was barely believable. What a way to end your first season in Spain."

Germany
The dramatic conclusion impressed Germany's media. "After going a goal behind, Madrid come back to win in extra time. What a final, what drama, what a finish," BILD beams. Superlatives also flow in Süddeutsche Zeitung, which adds: "The Madrid derby was a remarkable Champions League final. Atlético had one hand on the cup before Real saved themselves in the dying minutes. When Ramos scored, the Atlético players collapsed as if they knew the game was up. They were too tired to prevent la Décima.

©AFP/Getty Images

The Portuguese trio and Isco

Portugal
Ronaldo is predictably the talk of Portugal after registering his 17th UEFA Champions League goal in 11 outings in last night's Lisbon showpiece. There is also a special mention for Fábio Coentrão and Pepe, two Portuguese internationals who won their first European crown. A photo of all three players adorns the front cover of A Bola accompanied by the text: "Luz's magic: a dream come true. A fantastic final ended in glory for Ronaldo and Co."

Record hails "the world's best arriving in Brazil as the king of Europe", with the No7 himself adding: "It was an extraordinary year both on collective and individual levels. I could not have imagined this in my wildest dreams." Pepe, who missed the final due to injury, said: "It was too risky to play in the final. I know Eusébio was a Madridista and he helped us win. It was important to win in Portugal, in a legendary stadium for the Portuguese." Former SL Benfica full-back Coentrão concluded: "It was wonderful to be crowned champions in such a special stadium."

Italy
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is unsurprisingly the focus of Italy's UEFA Champions League final coverage after becoming only the second coach after Bob Paisley to win three European Cups. Corriere dello Sport pays homage to the 54-year-old. "There may not have been an Italian side in the final, but Carlo was there," the newspaper explains. "Eleven years after leading AC Milan to victory in an all-Italian final against Juventus, Ancelotti is still the main man, with no need to raise that famous eyebrow after another historical triumph."

Gareth Bale and Ancelotti are merged into the Gazzetta dello Sport headline: "Incredi-Bale Carletto", with the newspaper pinpointing Ancelotti's reassuring manner on the touchline as key to Madrid's victory.

France
L'Équipe hailed Madrid's triumph "a miracle", explaining: "In spite of stuttering stars and style, Carlo Ancelotti's team worked incredibly hard to overcome Atlético and take their tenth European Cup title as the Colchoneros were defeated for their second final, after 1974. The BBC [Bale, Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo] screen remained switched off for a long time." Real Madrid had to share the front page, however, placed alongside RC Toulon, winner of the equivalent competition in rugby union only a few hours earlier, under the banner: "The Masters."

For the Journal du Dimanche, an "imperious Real" prevailed "in a crazy game in Lisbon", but they also paid tribute to Club Atlético de Madrid. "It's not always the easiest on the eye, but their style is neatly efficient," the weekly said. "A week after they pocketed the league title, Diego Simeone's players were two minutes away from a fantastic double."

©AFP/Getty Images

Courtois is beaten from the spot

Belgium
The spotlight in Belgium is on Atlético pair Thibaut Courtois and Toby Alderweireld, who came within two minutes of winning European club football's most prestigious prize. "To get so close to victory and suffer this fate ..." substitute Alderweireld told newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.

"We gave it our all. Courtois told me after the match that he was only five or so centimetres away from getting to [Ramos' header]. We must not forget, however, that we played against very strong opponents." Courtois dug deep to find positives in defeat, meanwhile, adding: "I am so disappointed but on the other hand, it has been a fantastic campaign."

Greece
The Greek press herald Madrid's history-makers, with Iker Casillas's crowning moment emblazoned across plenty of front pages. "Here's to the tenth," writes SportDay. "Madrid found it difficult to contain sensational Atlético, but managed to return to their throne after 12 years' wait." GoalNews leads with the headline: "That's why they call you 'Kings of Europe.'"

"Real Madrid have their tenth crown following the most hard-fought of victories. Atlético came within two minutes of defying the odds and completing the double," it continues. "The tenth crown!" shouts LiveSport, who explain: "The Rojiblancos had a firm grip on the trophy until the 93rd minute when Sergio Ramos' header sent the tie intro extra time. From then on, Madrid dominated, led by the masterful Angel Di María.

Russia
"It was a fantastic showcase and one that is up there with the tournament's best," writes Sovetski Sport pundit Evgeni Lovchev. "It all started so bleak, but Madrid's unrelenting will to win eventually turned the tide. Madrid's equaliser was just reward for their efforts, but football was the overall winner, and that's something everyone can celebrate."

Denmark
Danish newspaper BT believe Saturday's final will love long in the memory – especially for the man who saved Madrid in added time. "When Sergio Ramos is one day sitting with a little grey in his hair and his grandchildren on his lap, he will be telling the story of 24 May 2014," writes the Copenhagen-based daily. "[Three] minutes into added time, Ramos popped up with a heart-starter of a golden header. That was the moment which marked the thin invisible line between success and failure."

Last updated: 25/05/14 18.08CET

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