Carvajal and Vinicius Propel Real Madrid to Historic 15th Champions League Triumph

Real Madrid triumphed over Borussia Dortmund to claim a record-extending 15th UEFA Champions League title, securing a 2-0 victory at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday.

This historic win also marked an emotional farewell for Toni Kroos, who will retire after Euro 2024. Real Madrid wins its fifteenth European championship thanks to late goals from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Jr. Niclas Fullkrug of Borussia Dortmund had hit the crossbar in the first half, but Carlo Ancelotti leads his team to another Champions League victory as retiring star Toni Kroos sends out in grand fashion.

Carvajal and Vinicius Propel Real Madrid to Historic 15th Champions League Triumph
Real Madrid players lift the trophy after winning the Champions League for the 15th time @Sky Sports

The German team threatened a major upset in the first half by hitting a post and creating two more great chances, but Real has a special bond with this competition, and they came to life after the break with a better performance.

With 16 minutes remaining, Toni Kroos, playing in his last match for the team, set up the first goal with a corner that allowed Carvajal to score. Shortly after, Jude Bellingham of England rolled in Vinicius Jr. to punish a stretched Dortmund defense.

Niclas Fullkrug, who had earlier in the match struck the inside of an upright as Dortmund was freely bursting through the Real defense, appeared to have fashioned a great finish with a forceful header, but it was called offside, effectively ending Dortmund’s hopes of an incredible comeback. Real, the European Kings, were crowned one more. Decimoquinta safe and sound.

It is with an undefeated European campaign for the first time. The Spanish champions wouldn’t be defeated despite needing four comebacks along the way, including their last-ditch victory over last season’s victors Manchester City in the quarterfinals and their dramatic comeback against Bayern Munich in the semifinals.

This is an incredible sixth Champions League victory for Carvajal, Kroos, and teammates Nacho and Luka Modric with Real Madrid. As a head coach, boss Carlo Ancelotti has already taken home the prized award five times. Is this Bellingham, 20, the first of many to come?

How Madrid became Champion again

Dortmund was always up against the odds. On their route to the championship game, they had defeated them against Atletico Madrid and Paris St-Germain; nevertheless, wasted opportunities in the first half ultimately cost them this match. They may have been thinking about those opportunities as they stood in front of their fans, who had cheered them on nonstop.

Like their 2013 final loss to Bayern Munich, it was ultimately heartbreaking at Wembley once more. It must have been familiarly terrible for the outgoing Marco Reus, who was there eleven years before.

The match may have started with a number of pitch invaders interfering, but Dortmund recovered immediately. They picked passes in behind the Real defense, allowing Julian Brandt to skew beyond the far post and Karim Adeyemi to run the ball too far wide of Thibaut Courtois.

Midway through the half, Ian Maatsen, on loan from Chelsea and celebrating winning the Championship with Burnley the previous year, rolled in Fullkrug and slid a shot against the inside of the post because Real was unable to close the gaps.

Also Read: Manchester City’s Historic Victory: Recap of the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final

Carvajal and Vinicius Propel Real Madrid to Historic 15th Champions League Triumph
Vinicius Junior doubled Real Madrid's lead at Wembley @Sky Sports

Shortly after, the large striker came agonizingly near once more, but this time he was unable to extend far enough to angle in his header from Adeyemi’s deflected shot. It was becoming too much to manage the left winger. Conversely, Jadon Sancho was also relishing in his accomplishment. Dortmund won the first half thanks in part to Marcel Sabitzer’s ability to move forward from midfield and push Courtois into a stop.

Vinicius Jr.’s speculative shot from the edge of the box had been Real Madrid’s greatest moment in the first forty-five minutes. They eventually forced Gregor Kobel to work through an angle free-kick from Kroos, and Carvajal nearly scored from the subsequent corner. Shortly after, the right-back’s shot at the back post was delightfully diverted for the keeper, and his eyes brightened once more.

Real were at last finding their footing. The action was now centered around Dortmund’s goalmouth, but Courtois had to block a header from Fullkrug. After some cunning won Real Madrid a corner, Bellingham came within inches of flicking in Vinicius Jr.’s lofted cross, and the Brazilian laughed to himself. Nine years after his first Champions League goal, Carvajal’s second came about thanks to a set-piece. An ideal moment to increase his total.

Real seemed to exude confidence as Bellingham missed a clear opportunity once more with a deflected attempt from inside the box. Eduardo Camavinga, Nacho, and Kroos were the first three people Kobel had to save. But, he was unable to block Vinicius Jr.’s shot, which sealed the victory with a cool finish after Bellingham took advantage of Maatsen’s mistake to locate him in space.

Fullkrug believed he had seized a lifeline for his side, but Real’s ascent to the crown could not be stopped.

Ancelotti: My players have been outstanding this season—I gave them a 10/10!

“I didn’t have to become upset. I had some clarifications to make. Dortmund made it obvious how they planned to play. We stumbled and needed to properly handle their transitions. We felt that switching to a different system with more men in midfield would be beneficial for us because we were losing a lot of balls in the opposition half. “We’ve had an excellent season thus far. My players have performed incredibly well.”

On Toni Kroos Retirement: 

“He’s reached the pinnacle of success. In this club, he is legendary. In addition to his skill, the Real Madrid supporters are all appreciative of what he has accomplished due to his demeanor and level of professionalism. I told him, “We’ll wait if you decide to change your mind.”

Carvajal and Vinicius Propel Real Madrid to Historic 15th Champions League Triumph
Carlo Ancelotti lifts the Champions League trophy @Sky Sports

Jude Bellingham: “The best night of my life”

“I’ve always wished to participate in these competitions. There are people in your life who tell you that you are incapable of doing things. You are reminded on days like today. Sometimes it’s difficult and you question if it’s worthwhile, but evenings like this help you realize.

“Up until I saw my parents, I was fine. On nights like this, when they might have returned home by seven, but instead they go on journeys to take me to football till twelve. In addition, I’m attempting to set an example for my younger brother. The greatest evening of my life.

Vinicius Breaks Messi’s Champions League Final Record

Real Madrid has won six Champions League titles since the 2014 edition. In this era, the La Liga heavyweights have won one more title than the combined totals of Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munchen, Chelsea, and Manchester City. Real Madrid has successfully gone undefeated in the Champions League for the first time. In their championship-winning campaign, Madrid won nine games.

Vinicius, a footballer from Brazil, is the youngest goal scorer in Champions League history. In the 2022 final, the 23-year-old scored against Liverpool as well. It’s interesting to note that the Real Madrid star broke Lionel Messi’s record for most Champions League final appearances. In 2011, Messi set a record at the age of 23.

Bellingham joins Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo

The oldest Real Madrid defender to score in the Champions League final is 32-year-old right-back Carvajal. Jude Bellingham, a playmaker, is 20, making him the third-youngest player to participate in a Champions League final. Bellingham is ranked below club icons Iker Casillas (19 in 2000) and Raul (20 in 1998) on the special list.

Bellingham of England has become the fourth player to win the Champions League trophy at home, following Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, Gareth Bale of Wales, and Karim Benzema of France.

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