Real Madrid is eternal. Carlo Ancelotti’s players managed to dominate Liverpool (1-0), this Saturday at the Stade de France, to win the Champions League final Maltreated during a large part of this meeting, the Spanish club showed realism in scoring at the right time thanks to Vinicius (59′) and resisting the opposing assaults thanks to the numerous parries of an impassable Thibaut Courtois. The Merengues therefore won the most prestigious of European competitions for the fourteenth time in their history.
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This meeting was to start at 9 p.m., in the magnificent stadium of the Stade de France, but finally, after numerous overflows around the stadium, the start of the match was postponed three times. Initially rescheduled at 9:15 p.m., it was again postponed to 9:30 p.m. and finally to 9:36 p.m., forcing the players of both teams to warm up a second time. Annoyed, the fans present in the stadium did not give the impression of appreciating the spectacle of international star Camila Cabello who failed to calm the ardor of the most impatient supporters.
“Benzema, small final but big Ballon d’Or”
The realism of Real Madrid
And the fans had to be patient during this match, especially those of Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti’s players only shot four times in the direction of the goal. But once again, Real Madrid showed unfailing realism. Karim Benzema thought for a long time that he had opened the scoring before seeing his goal disallowed for an offside position (42nd). This action was the only one for Real Madrid until the hour mark, while Liverpool had already shot fifteen times in the direction of Thibaut Courtois’ goal.
As the clock was soon to show the hour of play, Federico Valverde decided to reverse the course of this game. The Uruguayan international, from his left side, decided to cross towards the far post despite the presence of Karim Benzema at the penalty spot. But Valverde saw, before anyone else, that Vinicius had taken over the player on his marking and the Brazilian took advantage of this advantage to score the first goal of this match (59th).
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) against Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) in the Champions League final, Saturday May 28, 2022.
Credit: Getty Images
Liverpool hit a wall
Faced with four shots from Real Madrid, the Liverpool team tried their luck 24 times. Without success. Still, Jürgen Klopp’s players tried everything but nothing could break through what could be renamed ‘the Belgian wall’. From the 15th minute of this match, the 2m goalkeeper had to be decisive against the duo Mohamed Salah-Sadio Mané. The Egyptian (15th) tried his luck first by taking over an excellent cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold. Three minutes later, it was the Senegalese international who fired a powerful shot towards the left corner of the Madrid goal. If the whole Stade de France thought that this ball was going to end up in the back of the net, Thibaut Courtois once again made his talent speak.
After the hour mark and Vinicius’ opener, the Liverpool players increased their offensives and Jürgen Klopp changed his system of play to four attackers with the entries of Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino. But this evening of May 28, 2022 was that of Courtois, who was simply impassable. Mohamed Salah (63rd, 68th and 81st) and Diogo Jota (79th) may have presented themselves alone against him, but they ended up coming up against the talent of the Real Madrid goalkeeper.
Thibaut Courtois put Mohamed Salah in check.
Credit: Getty Images
KB9 heads for the Ballon d’Or
Karim Benzema becomes, thanks to this success in the Champions League, his fifth since the start of his career, the big favorite in the race for the Ballon d’Or. This season, he won his 30th trophy, becoming the most successful French player in history. He finished top scorer in La Liga with 27 goals and top scorer in the Champions League with 15 goals. KB9 was decisive in the highlights of this final phase, scoring a hat-trick against PSG (1/8th return) and against Chelsea (1/4 go). It was he who had allowed his team to stay alive against Manchester City with a double in the semi-final first leg. Less convincing in the final, he will still remain the strongman of this victorious campaign.
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