Facts: 7 Champions League final truths – Ronaldo, Simeone, Casillas kisses


1) Ronaldo finally had his say

It took until the very last vestiges of added time, but on his home turf, perhaps it was fitting that Cristiano Ronaldo had the final say. His was a disappointing performance in the whole, lacking the menace he usually possesses, but no one has contributed more to Madrid's success this season in Europe than Ronaldo, who has now scored a record 17 times in the Champions League. Overall he finishes the campaign with 55 goals in 45 games for Real Madrid, as well as clutching the Ballon d'Or under his arm. Truly this has been his season, and he enjoyed the moment when tearing off his shirt to celebrate with the Madrid fans after converting his late penalty.

2) Doing La Decima

"There is a thin line between an obsession and a dream," said Carlo Ancelotti in his pre-match press conference, and though the Real Madrid coach insisted the club had not strayed into obsessive territory since their previous Champions League win in 2002, it did feel as though their hunt for a 10th European Cup had taken on rather stalkerish dimensions. Now the long wait is over. Repeated disappointments at the quarter-finals and semi-finals over the past decade can dissipate into the ether: Real Madrid have a 10th European Cup, the round number they have been lusting after for 12 years, and defeating their local rivals in the final in Lisbon will only have made the feeling taste sweeter than a pastel de nata.

3) Gareth Bale has joined an exclusive club, as has Carlo Ancelotti

The notoriously insular nature of football on these isles means British winners of the European Cup with foreign teams are few and far between. However, Bale is now one of them, joining Paul Lambert (Borussia Dortmund, 1997), Steve McManaman (Real Madrid, 2000) and Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich, 2001) in this unusual honour. Even the great John Charles never conquered Europe with Juventus. Bale's feat is a rare one indeed. The most expensive player in the world has more than justified his decision to leave Tottenham last summer by collecting the greatest club prize of all in his debut season in Madrid, and he scored to boot.

Furthermore, on a night that was all about Real Madrid securing their record 10th European Cup, it should not be forgotten that their manager was enjoying a milestone of his own. In leading Real to victory in Lisbon, Ancelotti became only the second man after Bob Paisley (Liverpool, 1977, 1978, 1981) to win the competition on three separate occasions. The fact he did so with two different clubs, having won his first two with Milan, and also managed to win it twice as a player with the Rossoneri, makes his record all the more special. Does anyone have as deep an affinity with the European Cup as the mild-mannered Italian who proves time and again that nice guys can finish first?

4) The kiss

After Sergio Ramos planted a header inside Atleti post from a corner in injury time, Iker Casillas raced half the length of the pitch to embrace his long-time team-mate and plant a kiss right on his cheek. It was a moment of pure relief, of gratitude, as Ramos' late, late intervention meant Casillas would not be held responsible for losing the Champions League final for his beloved Real Madrid, having made such a horrible error of judgement for Diego Godin's opening goal. It was a touching vignette from a horribly tense and progressively more nasty affair in Lisbon.

5) We saw what happened when the irresistible force meets the immovable object

Real Madrid were the Champions League top scorers heading into the final, with their 37 goals in 12 games averaging out at 3.1 per match – making them the only team in Champions League history to average over three goals a game. Meanwhile, Atleti boasted the competition's meanest defence having conceded only six times in 12 games. They held out for all of 92 minutes, but then came Madrid's resurgence. They could not be halted, and hit four more to make it 41 in the competition this season.

6) Diego Simeone was so close to arguably the greatest managerial feat of all time

How to put into context Atletico Madrid's near-victory here in Lisbon? How can you adequately describe their ridiculous season as a whole? Perhaps words, in this instance, are not sufficient. Maybe the enormity of Atleti's achievement can truly be glimpsed in the fact that at the start of the season they were 6,560-1 to win both La Liga and the Champions League. That they ultimately fell short should not diminish the pride they should feel. Simeone's ability to win a two-horse race as the third horse was amazing as they took the Liga title on the final day of the season and he was within one minute of trumping that feat in Lisbon. No wonder Tiago said the players revere him as a “God”. But today he was one miracle short.

7) Costa gamble could have repercussions

When Diego Costa limped off against Barcelona last weekend clutching his hamstring, some said his World Cup was in doubt. Remarkably, thanks to an infamous dose of horse placenta, he returned to the starting line-up to widespread bafflement, but only for nine minutes. Having said Costa and Arda Turan, who did not even make the bench, were “only names” in his pre-match press conference, Simeone still allowed himself to take a big risk with his top scorer and it proved a ridiculous decision when he was forced off after only nine minutes. The Spain international probably needed unicorn placenta if he was to be ready for this match. If his World Cup aspirations are also to be placed in jeopardy, Simeone's decision will be even more unfathomable.

Tom Adams in Lisbon - On Twitter: @tomEurosport

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