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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Real Madrid ‘win lottery’ to land Champions League title

Real Madrid striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, said penalties are just a game of chance after scoring the winning spot-kick to give Real Madrid an 11th Champions League crown on Saturday.

Real Madrid 'win lottery' to land Champions League title
Ronaldo posing with the trophy on Saturday night. Photo: AFP

“The penalties are always a lottery, you never know what's going to happen, but we showed that our team had more experience and we showed that we scored all penalties — it was unbelievable, a fantastic night,” Ronaldo told BT Sport after the shootout triumph.

Ronaldo scored the winning penalty just after Juanfran had missed for Atletico Madrid in Milan's San Siro stadium where the game finished 1-1 after extra-time. Real won 5-3 on penalties.

Atletico's Yannick Carrasco had scored a 79th minute equaliser after Sergio Ramos opened the scoring for Real on 15 minutes.

French legend Zinedine Zidane became only the seventh man to win Europe's premier club competition both as a player and coach.

He was previously assistant to Carlo Ancelotti — another of the seven — two years ago when Real also beat Atletico in the final.

“It's huge! Ancelotti told me he hoped I'd be able to lift (the trophy) as a head coach,” Zidane told beIN Sport.

“He was right, it's a massive joy. I'm empty, but it's all positive.

“When you achieve what we've achieved all season it means you've done well, that the messages have got through, that the players have followed me, that I've followed them and that's how we've managed to win this Champions League.”

Real's Brazilian full-back Danilo paid tribute to Zidane: “We've learnt everything with him and he created a real group. At Real Madrid we never accept that we're beaten.”

Many players ended the game suffering with cramp.

“It's difficult, it's the end of the season, people are not fit any more so we have to rest now and do it for European Championship,” said Ronaldo.

Wales winger Gareth Bale overcame cramp to score his spot-kick for Real.

“I can't feel a lot to be honest, I'm cramping up. What an amazing feeling,” he said.

“It was difficult, in extra-time a lot of people were getting cramp. We showed resilience and what we're made of.

“I had cramp afterwards, thank god it wasn't before. It's an amazing feeling, I can't describe what it feels like.

“The boys gave everything. The club, the fans have been amazing on this journey — we deserve it.”

And he said beating their bitter city rivals in the final again for the second time in three years was extra special.

“That's the most important thing. Obviously they gave a great game, I'm obviously feeling a bit sorry for them but a final's a final and you have to win.”

Real's French striker Karim Benzema, who has not been picked for France's Euro 2016 squad, suggested this result would make up for his personal disappointment.

“It's great! This season has been very difficult but we fought to the end,” said Benzema.

“We showed we're a real team and we've entered into history. I'm happy and proud.

“We're here to win titles and go through nights like this.”

FOOTBALL

Liverpool fan to Madrid taxi driver: ‘You’ve restored my faith in humanity’

A Liverpool fan who lost his phone in the back of a cab after spending the weekend in Madrid for the Champions League Final didn’t hold out much hope for its return.

Liverpool fan to Madrid taxi driver: ‘You’ve restored my faith in humanity’
Paul Hands with his fiancée Charlotte in Madrid for the Champions League final. Photo: P Hands

Message boards and whatsapp groups were full of anecdotes about fans having their phones  snatched and wallets nicked by pickpockets taking advantage of the crowds that flocked to the city for the final earlier this month.

So Paul Hands, 44 a recently retired officer from the British Army, felt he only had himself to blame when he leapt out of a taxi at the airport leaving his phone and bank cards behind on the seat.

“When we got to the airport we had to quickly pay and jump out and it was then that I dropped my phone (the phone has a wallet holder so my bank cards were also in it),” he explained to The Local by telephone  from his home in Liverpool.

 “I didn’t realise I’d dropped it until we was through security and we didn’t have a clue what the taxi company was as we just flagged him down on the street,” he said.

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It wasn’t the loss of the phone, or the bank cards that most upset him, but rather the loss of all the photographs Paul and his fiancée, Charlotte, had taken during their stay in Madrid.

“We were both gutted as the phone had all our photographs from recent trips and all our info about our wedding – we get married in Liverpool in 2 Months time – I honestly thought we’d lost all the photos and phone as we hadn’t had a chance to back the photos up,” he said.

But just on the off chance, after a long journey home, flying via Porto, he logged onto the “find my phone app” on ipad and sent a message asking that whoever had his phone please get in contact..

To his immense surprise, he received a message back from the taxi driver, whose name was Juan,, and through using a translation app, the pair were able to communicate.

“The taxi driver sent us a message saying he was so glad we’d sent a message to the phone as he was worried how he could get it back to us.

 “We thanked him (we were using the English/Spanish translator as he didn’t speak English and we don’t speak Spanish!). The phone arrived at my home address some 5 days later. All in perfect condition and we were able to recover our photos.”


Paul and Charlotte recovered all the photos of their memorable trip. Photo credit: P Hands.

What’s more, the driver refused to accept a money transfer to pay for the postal costs, despite repeated attempts to reimburse him – instead, Paul and Charlotte plan to send him a gift.

“The actions of this taxi driver made the whole trip amazing. As well as our team winning the European Cup we got to meet this man that was so honest and really did more than we’d expect. Especially as the cost of the taxi  ride was less than the cost of the postage!”

“He’s a great ambassador for Madrid and a true gentleman,” the fan added.

Hands shared his story on Facebook forums for Liverpool fans and expats in Madrid where some told him how lucky he was, and others also shared their stories of kind-hearted Madrileños.

“It's so nice to hear a good story for a change”, wrote one.  “Thank you for restoring my faith in the human race.”

“This in my experience is Madrileños. More than one thank you they get bored with and just want you to shut up!” wrote another.

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