Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 1-0 on Saturday in the Champions League final to cap a storybook season manager Carlo Ancelotti dubbed “unbelievable” and secure their record 14th European title.
After VAR denied Karim Benzema at the end of the first half, Vinicius Junior put his side ahead in the 59th minute when he slid a low cross from Federico Valverde beyond Alisson. Later, Thibaut Courtois made an important save on Mohamed Salah to preserve the narrow advantage.
To win the tournament, Real Madrid toppled Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in the knockout rounds before besting the Reds in the final.
“I can’t believe it,” said manager Carlo Ancelotti to BT Sport. “We had a fantastic season. We did really well. It was a difficult game and we suffered a lot, more so in the first half. In the end, I think we deserved to win this competition.
“We’re really happy. What can I say? I can’t say more.
“I am a record man. I had luck to come here last year and have a fantastic season. A fantastic club, a really good squad with a lot of quality and mental character.”
Courtois was a leading story after his strong performance, which included a diving stop on Sadio Mane in addition to the late Salah save.
He said he had felt disrespected ahead of the match and was happy to prove his quality.
“Yesterday in the press conference I said that when Madrid plays finals they win,” Courtois told BT Sport. “I was on the good side of history.
“I saw a lot of tweets coming my way that I would get humbled today. It was the other way round.
“Today I needed to win a final for my career, for all the hard work to put respect on my name as I don’t think I get enough respect, especially in England. I saw a lot of criticism even after a great season.”
Ancelotti was in shock after the display from his starting shot-stopper.
“Wow,” he said. “Unbelievable. I can’t believe it.”
Patrick Callahan is a correspondent and reporter in the USA, specializing in politics and sports.