Watch: Real Madrid wins second straight Champions League title; Ronaldo scores twice
Real Madrid's reign as Champions League winner will continue for another year.
Real Madrid has become the first team to repeat as European champion since AC Milan accomplished the feat in 1989-1990, winning a record 12th European crown after downing Juventus 4-1 in the Champions League final in Cardiff. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, Casemiro scored the go-ahead goal and Marco Asensio added a late tally for Real, which was dominant in the second half and has now won three titles in the last four years. For Ronaldo, a triumph is his fourth on the European stage (three with Real), bringing him level with individual rival Lionel Messi.
The loss is another heartbreak for Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was hoping to win the trophy for the first time in his legendary career. The loss is Juventus's second in three seasons in the Champions League final after falling to Barcelona in 2015.
Juventus came out aggressive early, pressuring Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas with a pair of chances from Gonzalo Higuain. The Argentine's glancing header and long-range drive were both saved by the Costa Rican, though.
He was tested soon after by Miralem Pjanic, whose drive from distance was earmarked for the lower left-hand corner, but Navas got down quickly to swat it away.
Real Madrid weathered the early storm and scored the opener through Ronaldo, whose sensational scoring form continues. He worked a combination with Dani Carvajal in the 20th minute after Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema began the attacking sequence, beating Buffon with a low shot tucked inside the far corner. In doing so, he became the first player to score in three Champions League finals. He also delivered Real Madrid its 500th goal in Champions League play.
Juventus didn't wilt after the opener, though, and equalized seven minutes later after Mario Mandzukic turned in the unthinkable. His audacious overhead kick put the ball just out of Navas's reach and tucked under the crossbar for a sensational tally to make it 1-1. The goal capped a sequence in which Juventus volleyed the ball off the ground through three players and five touches.
The goal sparked celebrations in the main square in Turin, where Juventus fans had plenty to cheer.
Luka Modric produced the first quality chance of the second half, which began with Real Madrid flexing its muscle with some physical play. Luka Modric found himself with room to fire away from 25 yards after a sound ball-moving sequence from Madrid, but he put his blast right at Buffon, who made the catch with relative ease.
Real Madrid ramped up the pressure after that. In the 58th minute, Marcelo nearly picked out Ronaldo with a long cross from the left toward the far post, but it bounced just out of Ronaldo's extended reach and out for a goal kick. In the 59th, Isco had room to fire from long range, but he missed the target wide left.
That pressure finally paid off in the 61st minute through an unlikely source. Casemiro's 30-yard blast took a heavy deflection off Sami Khedira, putting it out of reach of a diving Buffon and inside the left post.
Three minutes later, Real padded its lead through Ronaldo. Modric found the Portugal star, who made a darting near-post run, with a cutback cross, and Ronaldo did the rest with a first-time finish by Buffon.
Juventus nearly pulled one back through Alex Sandro in the 82nd minute, with his glancing header off Dani Alves's free kick just missing the far post. The task got even tougher in the 84th minute, when Juan Cuadrado, on just 18 minutes earlier, was sent off for a second yellow card–though Sergio Ramos sold the assistant referee on the call.
Asensio finished off the triumph with a goal in the 90th minute, capping a dominant second half to give Real Madrid a 4-1 edge. By comparison, Juventus had given up just three goals in its entire run to the Champions League final.
Real Madrid completed its double, after winning La Liga's title on the last day of the season, and now turns its attention to trying to become the first team since Bayern Munich (1973-76) to win three consecutive European titles. Real holds the record for most titles in a row, winning the first five from 1955-1960.