Zinedine Zidane - We were spectacular in that second half
Published: June 04, 2017

From Macdara Ferris in Cardiff

 

While Juventus came to Cardiff after winning six consecutive Scudetti, it was Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid team that earned their own six in a row. Real’s 4-1 win over Juve means they have triumphed in each of their last six Champions League final appearances. 15 years after scoring the winner for Real in Glasgow, Zidane as coach came to Cardiff and led the Spanish champions to their third European Cup victory in the last four years.

 

A smiling Zidane speaking to the press afterwards unsurprisingly described himself as “extremely happy” as he became the first manager to coach a team to back-to-back Champions League titles – and the first Real Madrid manager to do the European and domestic double in 59 years.

 

It's been a spectacular year,” said Zidane. “You couldn't dream of anything better. We won the league on the very last day.”

 

His team at certain stages of the first half in Wales looked like they might be overrun by La Vecchia Signora but after the teams were level at the break, Zidane’s side put in an incredible second half performance to pick up the trophy – Real’s 12th European Cup.

 

“Juventus came out very strongly and had lots of the ball,” said the 44-year-old Frenchman about the opening period. “In the second half, we were superior. At half-time I told the players to carry on doing what they were, put more energy into their pressing and passing, and we were spectacular in that second half. Our passing and movement was fantastic. It's not easy to score four goals against Juventus."

 

Indeed the Italian side had only conceded three goals in their 12 European games this season en-route to the final. However Massimiliano Allegri’s men couldn’t shut out Real like they had done to the opposition in nine of their Champions League games this season. Allegri was full of praise for his team on their season, but not on their second half display, when he spoke after the game.

 

“Firstly, let me congratulate my boys for what they've done this season,” said Allegri. “It's been an extraordinary season. We've won the league, cup and reached the Champions League final so I have to thank them.

 

“In the first half we played beautifully,” said the 49-year-old Italian. He saw Mario Mandzukic score as good a goal to grace a final since probably his opposite number’s volley for Juve in the final in Scotland back in 2002.

 

“In the second half, Real Madrid pressed the accelerator and we weren't able to respond. Football can be a nightmare. The only criticism I could make is that after the second goal we should have stayed in the game mentally to make sure we still had chances.

 

“We played a beautiful first half, all the players, but after conceding the second goal we should have stayed in the game. We actually created a couple of chances when we'd gone 2-1 down, but we weren't able to take them.”

 

This was their second Champions League final defeat in the last three seasons and with his aging side Allegri was asked was there to be a changing of the guard in Turin. “I don't think Juventus have reached the end of a cycle at all. Buffon and Barzagli will still be with us next year and they still have a lot to give us.

 

“Clearly we need to improve the team to achieve a higher level of technical skill, but after the holidays we'll go back to work with a new stimulus.

 

“Football gives you the chance to go again next year,” said Allegri seeking inspiration from something that Real Madrid seem to be able to do in Europe season-on-season.

 

We also heard from man of the match, Cristiano Ronaldo: The numbers don't lie.


Leave a Comment

Macdara Ferris

Macdara Ferris is a contributor since 2007 to Hoops Scene (Shamrock Rovers' match day programme) and the co-author of Tallaght Time: Shamrock Rovers 2009 to 2012. He still believes that one day he will see Rovers win the FAI Cup. The first international game he attended was Luxembourg being dispatched 2-1 at Lansdowne Road by Jack Charlton's Ireland team.

He has been a writer with extratime.ie since 2012 covering the League of Ireland, the Irish National team and a few Champions League finals. He has also been known to pop up in far flung places like Ballybofey, Belfast, Berlin and Brazil to report for extratime.

More articles from Macdara Ferris

image description Photographer: Macdara Ferris

Will Denmark pay the penalty in playoff for over-confidence?

by Macdara Ferris on Mon, Nov 13 2017

Denmark manager Age Hareide is confident that his team can progress through the playoff and reach Russia 2018 without requiring ...... Read more

image description

Postcard from playoff in Copenhagen - dour deadlock and dazzling Democrats in Denmark

by Macdara Ferris on Mon, Nov 13 2017

03:13 was the alarm call on Friday morning to travel out for the first leg of the FIFA World Cup ...... Read more

image description Photographer: Macdara Ferris

Fireworks off the pitch but not on it in Parken Stadium - Reaction from Danish camp

by Macdara Ferris on Sun, Nov 12 2017

There were fireworks above the open roof of the Parken Stadium on Saturday night ahead of kick off but it ...... Read more

image description Photographer: Macdara Ferris

O'Neill wary of Danish threat in Tuesday's tie

by Macdara Ferris on Sun, Nov 12 2017

It is all to play for in the second leg of the World Cup playoff set to take place at ...... Read more

image description Photographer: Macdara Ferris

World Cup Playoff Report: Denmark 0 - 0 Republic of Ireland

by Macdara Ferris on Sat, Nov 11 2017

In reality the Scandi drama served in Copenhagen on Saturday night was actually a pretty tame affair.... Read more

image description Photographer: Macdara Ferris

Inner belief to bring Russia reward for O’Neill

by Macdara Ferris on Sat, Nov 11 2017

Martin O’Neill believes his team has shown great character to get themselves into this weekend’s World Cup playoff. In Copenhagen’s ...... Read more