Interview

"Nothing better than that"

Vinícius Júnior celebrates the goal that won Real Madrid the Champions League

Vinícius Júnior’s 59th minute goal coupled with another superb performance from goalkeeper Thibault Courtois made the difference for Real Madrid as Carlo Anelotti’s side defeated Liverpool 1-0 to win the Champions League for a record eighth time, and claim a 14th European Cup - twice as many as any other club.

Madrid created few chances on the night at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, but Vinícius made sure with the one that mattered most when he turned Federico Valverde’s low shot past Alisson Becker at the far post. “Fede always hits it hard, and I ran, knowing that the ball could drop to me, either directly or from a rebound off the goalkeeper,” the 21-year-old Brazilian said. “We score goals like that in training; sometimes they don’t go in, but today it ended up in a goal and I was happy in the end.

“To be able to win a final in the best competition in the world, with the best club in the world, I don’t think there’s anything better than that,” Vinícius added. “I’m really happy and I want to make the most of it and continue like this for a long time. I want to make history with this team of great players, [some of] who won their fifth [Champions League trophy] today. I want to follow in their footsteps.”

 

One of those five-time champions is fellow frontman Karim Benzema, so often Madrid’s match-winner this season. Benzema topped the scoring charts with 15 goals, including a staggering ten in the knockout stage matching the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016/17. Only Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have scored more than the 34-year-old’s 86 goals in the competition and Vinícius has blossomed alongside the Frenchman this term.

“It’s a dream for me to play with Karim, he’s a really great player. He’s a guy who gives me a lot of advice, both on and off the pitch, in order to always do the right thing. And to follow him, who has been so important, spent so long at the club and has done great things and made history at the best club in the world… For me, it’s an honour to play with him and to learn from him.  

“It’s been an excellent season for us. I think the toughest one we’ve had. After so many comebacks, so many special games, to get here, to the final, and win it is even more special.”

It was also a first triumph for keeper Thibaut Courtois, who was on the losing side when Real beat Atlético de Madrid in the 2014 final. Courtois made a series of outstanding stops to keep Liverpool at bay, notably from Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.

“It’s difficult to say which one was the most difficult save,” he said. “The one I made from Mané’s shot in the first half was the most important for me because, if he had scored, it would have been 1-0 and the match would have been even more difficult. I had to cover a couple of metres to push the ball away, and then I had to turn back quickly to grab the rebound because a Liverpool player was coming in.

“Similarly, in the second half, the save I made with my arm from Salah’s shot was technically difficult, just like the one where I had to go from one post to the other to stop it with my foot because he was coming in there. If I had to choose one, it would be the one against Mané.

“We’ve felt really good and have had great desire. Desire is what can really make the difference on a day like today. It’s about saying, ‘Today is my day. Today, I’m going to win this Champions League. I won’t lose another.’ Seeing that come true is incredible.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve spent lots of years making sacrifices, and it was the only trophy I was missing. I’ve been to the final once before and lost there, so, obviously, I really wanted to reach another final and win it, and to do it like that today… I just don’t have any words to describe it.”

It was Carlo Ancelotti’s record fourth European Cup win as a coach – coming after his first success with Madrid in 2014 and AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. “We’re going to celebrate,” said the 62-year-old, who became the first man to coach in five European Cup finals to cap a remarkable first season back at the club by leading his side to a Liga-Champions League double.

“We’ve achieved something that nobody expected of us at the start of the season, and we’ve done that thanks to our quality, our commitment, our history, everything. We’re very happy. I was very confident because I know the attitude of these players, especially in matches like this. I think the confidence that we had going into the match helped us to win it.”

Vinícius Júnior’s 59th minute goal coupled with another superb performance from goalkeeper Thibault Courtois made the difference for Real Madrid as Carlo Anelotti’s side defeated Liverpool 1-0 to win the Champions League for a record eighth time, and claim a 14th European Cup - twice as many as any other club.

Madrid created few chances on the night at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, but Vinícius made sure with the one that mattered most when he turned Federico Valverde’s low shot past Alisson Becker at the far post. “Fede always hits it hard, and I ran, knowing that the ball could drop to me, either directly or from a rebound off the goalkeeper,” the 21-year-old Brazilian said. “We score goals like that in training; sometimes they don’t go in, but today it ended up in a goal and I was happy in the end.

“To be able to win a final in the best competition in the world, with the best club in the world, I don’t think there’s anything better than that,” Vinícius added. “I’m really happy and I want to make the most of it and continue like this for a long time. I want to make history with this team of great players, [some of] who won their fifth [Champions League trophy] today. I want to follow in their footsteps.”

 

One of those five-time champions is fellow frontman Karim Benzema, so often Madrid’s match-winner this season. Benzema topped the scoring charts with 15 goals, including a staggering ten in the knockout stage matching the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016/17. Only Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have scored more than the 34-year-old’s 86 goals in the competition and Vinícius has blossomed alongside the Frenchman this term.

“It’s a dream for me to play with Karim, he’s a really great player. He’s a guy who gives me a lot of advice, both on and off the pitch, in order to always do the right thing. And to follow him, who has been so important, spent so long at the club and has done great things and made history at the best club in the world… For me, it’s an honour to play with him and to learn from him.  

“It’s been an excellent season for us. I think the toughest one we’ve had. After so many comebacks, so many special games, to get here, to the final, and win it is even more special.”

It was also a first triumph for keeper Thibaut Courtois, who was on the losing side when Real beat Atlético de Madrid in the 2014 final. Courtois made a series of outstanding stops to keep Liverpool at bay, notably from Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.

“It’s difficult to say which one was the most difficult save,” he said. “The one I made from Mané’s shot in the first half was the most important for me because, if he had scored, it would have been 1-0 and the match would have been even more difficult. I had to cover a couple of metres to push the ball away, and then I had to turn back quickly to grab the rebound because a Liverpool player was coming in.

“Similarly, in the second half, the save I made with my arm from Salah’s shot was technically difficult, just like the one where I had to go from one post to the other to stop it with my foot because he was coming in there. If I had to choose one, it would be the one against Mané.

“We’ve felt really good and have had great desire. Desire is what can really make the difference on a day like today. It’s about saying, ‘Today is my day. Today, I’m going to win this Champions League. I won’t lose another.’ Seeing that come true is incredible.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve spent lots of years making sacrifices, and it was the only trophy I was missing. I’ve been to the final once before and lost there, so, obviously, I really wanted to reach another final and win it, and to do it like that today… I just don’t have any words to describe it.”

It was Carlo Ancelotti’s record fourth European Cup win as a coach – coming after his first success with Madrid in 2014 and AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. “We’re going to celebrate,” said the 62-year-old, who became the first man to coach in five European Cup finals to cap a remarkable first season back at the club by leading his side to a Liga-Champions League double.

“We’ve achieved something that nobody expected of us at the start of the season, and we’ve done that thanks to our quality, our commitment, our history, everything. We’re very happy. I was very confident because I know the attitude of these players, especially in matches like this. I think the confidence that we had going into the match helped us to win it.”

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Vinícius Júnior’s 59th minute goal coupled with another superb performance from goalkeeper Thibault Courtois made the difference for Real Madrid as Carlo Anelotti’s side defeated Liverpool 1-0 to win the Champions League for a record eighth time, and claim a 14th European Cup - twice as many as any other club.

Madrid created few chances on the night at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, but Vinícius made sure with the one that mattered most when he turned Federico Valverde’s low shot past Alisson Becker at the far post. “Fede always hits it hard, and I ran, knowing that the ball could drop to me, either directly or from a rebound off the goalkeeper,” the 21-year-old Brazilian said. “We score goals like that in training; sometimes they don’t go in, but today it ended up in a goal and I was happy in the end.

“To be able to win a final in the best competition in the world, with the best club in the world, I don’t think there’s anything better than that,” Vinícius added. “I’m really happy and I want to make the most of it and continue like this for a long time. I want to make history with this team of great players, [some of] who won their fifth [Champions League trophy] today. I want to follow in their footsteps.”

 

One of those five-time champions is fellow frontman Karim Benzema, so often Madrid’s match-winner this season. Benzema topped the scoring charts with 15 goals, including a staggering ten in the knockout stage matching the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016/17. Only Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have scored more than the 34-year-old’s 86 goals in the competition and Vinícius has blossomed alongside the Frenchman this term.

“It’s a dream for me to play with Karim, he’s a really great player. He’s a guy who gives me a lot of advice, both on and off the pitch, in order to always do the right thing. And to follow him, who has been so important, spent so long at the club and has done great things and made history at the best club in the world… For me, it’s an honour to play with him and to learn from him.  

“It’s been an excellent season for us. I think the toughest one we’ve had. After so many comebacks, so many special games, to get here, to the final, and win it is even more special.”

It was also a first triumph for keeper Thibaut Courtois, who was on the losing side when Real beat Atlético de Madrid in the 2014 final. Courtois made a series of outstanding stops to keep Liverpool at bay, notably from Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.

“It’s difficult to say which one was the most difficult save,” he said. “The one I made from Mané’s shot in the first half was the most important for me because, if he had scored, it would have been 1-0 and the match would have been even more difficult. I had to cover a couple of metres to push the ball away, and then I had to turn back quickly to grab the rebound because a Liverpool player was coming in.

“Similarly, in the second half, the save I made with my arm from Salah’s shot was technically difficult, just like the one where I had to go from one post to the other to stop it with my foot because he was coming in there. If I had to choose one, it would be the one against Mané.

“We’ve felt really good and have had great desire. Desire is what can really make the difference on a day like today. It’s about saying, ‘Today is my day. Today, I’m going to win this Champions League. I won’t lose another.’ Seeing that come true is incredible.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve spent lots of years making sacrifices, and it was the only trophy I was missing. I’ve been to the final once before and lost there, so, obviously, I really wanted to reach another final and win it, and to do it like that today… I just don’t have any words to describe it.”

It was Carlo Ancelotti’s record fourth European Cup win as a coach – coming after his first success with Madrid in 2014 and AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. “We’re going to celebrate,” said the 62-year-old, who became the first man to coach in five European Cup finals to cap a remarkable first season back at the club by leading his side to a Liga-Champions League double.

“We’ve achieved something that nobody expected of us at the start of the season, and we’ve done that thanks to our quality, our commitment, our history, everything. We’re very happy. I was very confident because I know the attitude of these players, especially in matches like this. I think the confidence that we had going into the match helped us to win it.”

"Nothing better than that"
Interview

"Nothing better than that"

Vinícius Júnior celebrates the goal that won Real Madrid the Champions League

Vinícius Júnior’s 59th minute goal coupled with another superb performance from goalkeeper Thibault Courtois made the difference for Real Madrid as Carlo Anelotti’s side defeated Liverpool 1-0 to win the Champions League for a record eighth time, and claim a 14th European Cup - twice as many as any other club.

Madrid created few chances on the night at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, but Vinícius made sure with the one that mattered most when he turned Federico Valverde’s low shot past Alisson Becker at the far post. “Fede always hits it hard, and I ran, knowing that the ball could drop to me, either directly or from a rebound off the goalkeeper,” the 21-year-old Brazilian said. “We score goals like that in training; sometimes they don’t go in, but today it ended up in a goal and I was happy in the end.

“To be able to win a final in the best competition in the world, with the best club in the world, I don’t think there’s anything better than that,” Vinícius added. “I’m really happy and I want to make the most of it and continue like this for a long time. I want to make history with this team of great players, [some of] who won their fifth [Champions League trophy] today. I want to follow in their footsteps.”

 

One of those five-time champions is fellow frontman Karim Benzema, so often Madrid’s match-winner this season. Benzema topped the scoring charts with 15 goals, including a staggering ten in the knockout stage matching the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016/17. Only Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have scored more than the 34-year-old’s 86 goals in the competition and Vinícius has blossomed alongside the Frenchman this term.

“It’s a dream for me to play with Karim, he’s a really great player. He’s a guy who gives me a lot of advice, both on and off the pitch, in order to always do the right thing. And to follow him, who has been so important, spent so long at the club and has done great things and made history at the best club in the world… For me, it’s an honour to play with him and to learn from him.  

“It’s been an excellent season for us. I think the toughest one we’ve had. After so many comebacks, so many special games, to get here, to the final, and win it is even more special.”

It was also a first triumph for keeper Thibaut Courtois, who was on the losing side when Real beat Atlético de Madrid in the 2014 final. Courtois made a series of outstanding stops to keep Liverpool at bay, notably from Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.

“It’s difficult to say which one was the most difficult save,” he said. “The one I made from Mané’s shot in the first half was the most important for me because, if he had scored, it would have been 1-0 and the match would have been even more difficult. I had to cover a couple of metres to push the ball away, and then I had to turn back quickly to grab the rebound because a Liverpool player was coming in.

“Similarly, in the second half, the save I made with my arm from Salah’s shot was technically difficult, just like the one where I had to go from one post to the other to stop it with my foot because he was coming in there. If I had to choose one, it would be the one against Mané.

“We’ve felt really good and have had great desire. Desire is what can really make the difference on a day like today. It’s about saying, ‘Today is my day. Today, I’m going to win this Champions League. I won’t lose another.’ Seeing that come true is incredible.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve spent lots of years making sacrifices, and it was the only trophy I was missing. I’ve been to the final once before and lost there, so, obviously, I really wanted to reach another final and win it, and to do it like that today… I just don’t have any words to describe it.”

It was Carlo Ancelotti’s record fourth European Cup win as a coach – coming after his first success with Madrid in 2014 and AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. “We’re going to celebrate,” said the 62-year-old, who became the first man to coach in five European Cup finals to cap a remarkable first season back at the club by leading his side to a Liga-Champions League double.

“We’ve achieved something that nobody expected of us at the start of the season, and we’ve done that thanks to our quality, our commitment, our history, everything. We’re very happy. I was very confident because I know the attitude of these players, especially in matches like this. I think the confidence that we had going into the match helped us to win it.”

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Vinícius Júnior’s 59th minute goal coupled with another superb performance from goalkeeper Thibault Courtois made the difference for Real Madrid as Carlo Anelotti’s side defeated Liverpool 1-0 to win the Champions League for a record eighth time, and claim a 14th European Cup - twice as many as any other club.

Madrid created few chances on the night at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, but Vinícius made sure with the one that mattered most when he turned Federico Valverde’s low shot past Alisson Becker at the far post. “Fede always hits it hard, and I ran, knowing that the ball could drop to me, either directly or from a rebound off the goalkeeper,” the 21-year-old Brazilian said. “We score goals like that in training; sometimes they don’t go in, but today it ended up in a goal and I was happy in the end.

“To be able to win a final in the best competition in the world, with the best club in the world, I don’t think there’s anything better than that,” Vinícius added. “I’m really happy and I want to make the most of it and continue like this for a long time. I want to make history with this team of great players, [some of] who won their fifth [Champions League trophy] today. I want to follow in their footsteps.”

 

One of those five-time champions is fellow frontman Karim Benzema, so often Madrid’s match-winner this season. Benzema topped the scoring charts with 15 goals, including a staggering ten in the knockout stage matching the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016/17. Only Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have scored more than the 34-year-old’s 86 goals in the competition and Vinícius has blossomed alongside the Frenchman this term.

“It’s a dream for me to play with Karim, he’s a really great player. He’s a guy who gives me a lot of advice, both on and off the pitch, in order to always do the right thing. And to follow him, who has been so important, spent so long at the club and has done great things and made history at the best club in the world… For me, it’s an honour to play with him and to learn from him.  

“It’s been an excellent season for us. I think the toughest one we’ve had. After so many comebacks, so many special games, to get here, to the final, and win it is even more special.”

It was also a first triumph for keeper Thibaut Courtois, who was on the losing side when Real beat Atlético de Madrid in the 2014 final. Courtois made a series of outstanding stops to keep Liverpool at bay, notably from Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.

“It’s difficult to say which one was the most difficult save,” he said. “The one I made from Mané’s shot in the first half was the most important for me because, if he had scored, it would have been 1-0 and the match would have been even more difficult. I had to cover a couple of metres to push the ball away, and then I had to turn back quickly to grab the rebound because a Liverpool player was coming in.

“Similarly, in the second half, the save I made with my arm from Salah’s shot was technically difficult, just like the one where I had to go from one post to the other to stop it with my foot because he was coming in there. If I had to choose one, it would be the one against Mané.

“We’ve felt really good and have had great desire. Desire is what can really make the difference on a day like today. It’s about saying, ‘Today is my day. Today, I’m going to win this Champions League. I won’t lose another.’ Seeing that come true is incredible.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve spent lots of years making sacrifices, and it was the only trophy I was missing. I’ve been to the final once before and lost there, so, obviously, I really wanted to reach another final and win it, and to do it like that today… I just don’t have any words to describe it.”

It was Carlo Ancelotti’s record fourth European Cup win as a coach – coming after his first success with Madrid in 2014 and AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. “We’re going to celebrate,” said the 62-year-old, who became the first man to coach in five European Cup finals to cap a remarkable first season back at the club by leading his side to a Liga-Champions League double.

“We’ve achieved something that nobody expected of us at the start of the season, and we’ve done that thanks to our quality, our commitment, our history, everything. We’re very happy. I was very confident because I know the attitude of these players, especially in matches like this. I think the confidence that we had going into the match helped us to win it.”

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Vinícius Júnior’s 59th minute goal coupled with another superb performance from goalkeeper Thibault Courtois made the difference for Real Madrid as Carlo Anelotti’s side defeated Liverpool 1-0 to win the Champions League for a record eighth time, and claim a 14th European Cup - twice as many as any other club.

Madrid created few chances on the night at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, but Vinícius made sure with the one that mattered most when he turned Federico Valverde’s low shot past Alisson Becker at the far post. “Fede always hits it hard, and I ran, knowing that the ball could drop to me, either directly or from a rebound off the goalkeeper,” the 21-year-old Brazilian said. “We score goals like that in training; sometimes they don’t go in, but today it ended up in a goal and I was happy in the end.

“To be able to win a final in the best competition in the world, with the best club in the world, I don’t think there’s anything better than that,” Vinícius added. “I’m really happy and I want to make the most of it and continue like this for a long time. I want to make history with this team of great players, [some of] who won their fifth [Champions League trophy] today. I want to follow in their footsteps.”

 

One of those five-time champions is fellow frontman Karim Benzema, so often Madrid’s match-winner this season. Benzema topped the scoring charts with 15 goals, including a staggering ten in the knockout stage matching the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016/17. Only Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have scored more than the 34-year-old’s 86 goals in the competition and Vinícius has blossomed alongside the Frenchman this term.

“It’s a dream for me to play with Karim, he’s a really great player. He’s a guy who gives me a lot of advice, both on and off the pitch, in order to always do the right thing. And to follow him, who has been so important, spent so long at the club and has done great things and made history at the best club in the world… For me, it’s an honour to play with him and to learn from him.  

“It’s been an excellent season for us. I think the toughest one we’ve had. After so many comebacks, so many special games, to get here, to the final, and win it is even more special.”

It was also a first triumph for keeper Thibaut Courtois, who was on the losing side when Real beat Atlético de Madrid in the 2014 final. Courtois made a series of outstanding stops to keep Liverpool at bay, notably from Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.

“It’s difficult to say which one was the most difficult save,” he said. “The one I made from Mané’s shot in the first half was the most important for me because, if he had scored, it would have been 1-0 and the match would have been even more difficult. I had to cover a couple of metres to push the ball away, and then I had to turn back quickly to grab the rebound because a Liverpool player was coming in.

“Similarly, in the second half, the save I made with my arm from Salah’s shot was technically difficult, just like the one where I had to go from one post to the other to stop it with my foot because he was coming in there. If I had to choose one, it would be the one against Mané.

“We’ve felt really good and have had great desire. Desire is what can really make the difference on a day like today. It’s about saying, ‘Today is my day. Today, I’m going to win this Champions League. I won’t lose another.’ Seeing that come true is incredible.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve spent lots of years making sacrifices, and it was the only trophy I was missing. I’ve been to the final once before and lost there, so, obviously, I really wanted to reach another final and win it, and to do it like that today… I just don’t have any words to describe it.”

It was Carlo Ancelotti’s record fourth European Cup win as a coach – coming after his first success with Madrid in 2014 and AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. “We’re going to celebrate,” said the 62-year-old, who became the first man to coach in five European Cup finals to cap a remarkable first season back at the club by leading his side to a Liga-Champions League double.

“We’ve achieved something that nobody expected of us at the start of the season, and we’ve done that thanks to our quality, our commitment, our history, everything. We’re very happy. I was very confident because I know the attitude of these players, especially in matches like this. I think the confidence that we had going into the match helped us to win it.”

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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