Real Madrid come full circle with second great European dynasty


Real Madrid added another chapter to their already astonishing love affair with European football's elite club trophy by claiming a 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final as they were crowned for the 15th time.

The story of the season they finished at Wembley was about two generations of players who met, bonded as a group and connected on the pitch like a well-oiled machine to establish the second great dynasty Real spent half a century looking for.

It all started at the dawn of the competition when, during the Alfredo Di Stefano years, the Madrid side won the first five editions of the European Cup from 1956 and another in 1966.

The current crop of youngsters and seasoned veterans have matched that with a sixth title in 11 seasons, although Dani Carvajal, who scored the opener, is the only surviving starter from the side that won 'The 10th' a decade ago.

Vinicius Jr, hero of their 14th title triumph in Paris two years ago, on Saturday became the first Brazilian to score in two Champions League finals and is the symbol of Real's young guns who keep proving they can prolong the club's success.

"Why not think about 'The Seventh'? We don't reset, we always want more and more and more," Carvajal said.

The defender, who matched Real great Paco Gento's record six European Cup titles along with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and defender Nacho, was a long-time reserve who stepped up this season and ended it by lifting the trophy as team captain.

"I have never lost a final. I hope the streak continues," he said. "To get our 15th and my sixth is a wonderful thing. As we keep winning ... we end up making it harder for any other team to come close to what this club have accomplished over the history. It is something remarkable."

In March, Carlo Ancelotti gave a three-minute insight on managing suffering and happiness inside a changing room to explain the complexity of handling the personalities at a club constantly under pressure and held to such high standards.

He has expertly managed to keep Real's momentum going after Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Karim Benzema and Casemiro had all long gone and with Modric, 38, becoming a rotational player in a young squad brimming with talent.

Next year Ancelotti will face another challenge by having to replace Kroos, who has just had a retirement send-off from the fans at the Bernabeu and will stop playing after the Euros.

The Germany midfielder said farewell after delivering the corner for Carvajal to score with a glancing header on Saturday.

But Ancelotti, who as a manager holds the record of most Champions League finals played (six) and won (five), did not seem too worried about the challenge.

"We will have to adapt ourselves to the players we have and try to maximize their qualities like we have always done," he told a press conference.

"This season we've had a lot of problems, we've lost quality players. We have solved this with collective sacrifice.

"We didn't always play at our best, but we never gave up.

"We lose a very important player for us in Kroos, but we will replace him, in a different way. We will think about how."

Borussia Dortmund paid the ultimate price for failing to take their chances against an incredible Real Madrid side, the Bundesliga club's coach Edin Terzic said after the Spanish team's triumph on Saturday.

"We didn't show the efficiency to score," a visibly downcast Terzic told reporters. "This is something we have to learn from."

Dortmund, who finished fifth in the Bundesliga this season, reached their first Champions League final since 2013 when Wembley also hosted their defeat by Bayern Munich.

They gave their all on the night, as did their incredible supporters.

"I am proud, that is the first thought, a proud moment," Terzic said.

"We brought nearly 100,000 people to London and everybody had the belief we could make it. It was a fantastic journey this year in the Champions League - a great campaign - but to be honest it is a little empty inside. It was a great opportunity to win it and we unfortunately didn't make it."

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke could not hide his disappointment.

"We did it well, should have taken the lead in the first half but then we got a bit tired and they were ice cold how they scored," he said.

"We knew what we can do. We are happy to have been here but when you dominate the game and have these chances and then lose then it is very disappointing."

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