CARDIFF (UNITED KINGDOM), June 4: Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid crushed Juventus 4-1 in Cardiff on Saturday to become the first team to retain the European Cup in the Champions League era.
The Portugal superstar�s opener was cancelled out by an astonishing Mario Mandzukic strike, but goals from Casemiro, Ronaldo and Marco Asensio secured Madrid�s third Champions League triumph in four years and 12th in total.
Now a four-time Champions League winner, Ronaldo finished as the competition�s top scorer for the fifth season running, substantially enhancing his chances of matching eternal rival Lionel Messi�s tally of five Ballons d�Or.
�We�re very happy to be the first team to win the Champions League in two consecutive years,� said Ronaldo, who has now scored exactly 600 goals for club and country over the course of his extraordinary career.
�I finished the season very well. It is another record, a record that these players deserve and we are delighted.�
Zinedine Zidane, a head coach for only 17 months, became the first manager to oversee back-to-back European Cup successes since Arrigo Sacchi�s fabled AC Milan team won the tournament in 1989 and 1990.
�It�s a tremendous joy for the players and for this immense club,� Zidane told beIN Sports Spain.
�I am happy because it is not easy to win things like La Liga and the Champions League and this year we did it with hard work and desire.�
Victory crowned a glorious season for Madrid, who have pulled off a La Liga and European Cup double for the first time since 1958, having also won the Club World Cup and European Super Cup.
Zidane�s joy was his former club Juve�s despair, Massimiliano Allegri�s side crashing to a fifth successive defeat in Champions League finals and seventh in total, extending their own desperately unwanted record.
The first Champions League final to be played beneath a closed roof saw Juve hit their heads against a familiar ceiling as they missed out on a chance to complete the first Treble in their history.
The Italian champions also had substitute Juan Cuadrado sent off after he was shown a second yellow card for a gentle push on Sergio Ramos that drew a lamentable overreaction from the Madrid skipper.
Kick-off at the Principality Stadium was delayed by two minutes due to an elaborate pre-match ceremony involving American pop act the Black Eyed Peas and when play got under way, Juve settled first.
Gonzalo Higuain worked Keylor Navas twice, while Miralem Pjanic�s snappy half-volley forced the Madrid goalkeeper to produce a smart one-handed save.
Madrid drew first blood in the 20th minute when Ronaldo flicked the ball wide to Dani Carvajal before artfully sweeping the Spaniard�s return pass into the bottom-left corner via a nick off Leonardo Bonucci.
It was a fine strike, and it made Ronaldo the first player to have scored in three finals in the Champions League era, but it was cancelled out by Mandzukic�s masterpiece, one of the great European Cup final goals.
Bonucci�s flighted pass from deep was volleyed into the box by Alex Sandro and Higuain chested the ball down before teeing it up for Mandzukic.
The Croatian forward took a touch with his chest and then, as he fell, hooked a sublime volley over Navas�s despairing dive and beneath the crossbar.
But after the break, it was Zidane�s men who set the tempo. � AFP