The real winners of Real Madrid’s latest European title

The real winners of Real Madrid’s latest European title

The real winners of Real Madrid's latest European title | Soccer | The Guardian


Get in there! Have some of that! The undisputed best league in the world ™ has only gone and completed the hat-trick. Real Madrid’s Big Cup win over Borussia Dortmund means the Premier League can now boast that its teams lost, at some point, to the three sides that lifted European silverware this season. No disgrace there to be sent packing by those heavyweights from Spain, Italy and … erm, Greece. To recall, Manchester City were done by Madrid on penalties, Liverpool endured the beginning of Jürgen Klopp’s end at the hands of eventual Big Vase winners Atalanta, while Aston Villa were plucky 6-2 aggregate losers to Olympiakos in Tin Pot’s last four.

With England’s coefficient suffering more hits than those of us who sat through the peak years of Stock Aitken Waterman, the giant computer that spits out these things decided that was the funniest way to stop fifth-placed Tottenham qualifying for Big Cup. Hard to believe that Spurs were in the final five years ago, although watching back now it seems incomprehensible that a team playing in all-white should actually lose it. Real Madrid have taken their modern-day dominance of Big Cup to ridiculous heights. The inevitable 2-0 victory over Dortmund in Saturday’s Wembley final was their sixth triumph in the last 11 years. Their tally of 15 is now one more than the combined haul won by Bayern, Barcelona and Manchester United. Or 15 more than Arsenal. Still, they may have to wait their turn for the next, having been forced to dip into the free transfer market to sign some guy from PSG.

Real Madrid lift the Champions League trophy

The sight of inevitability, earlier. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Observer

Of course, the destination of the Big Cup trophy was a mere afterthought compared to the main talking point on Saturday: who would win the Ballon d’Or, Ballon d’Or, Ballon d’Or, Ballon d’Or, Ballon d’Or, Ballon d’Or? Rio Ferdinand reckons Vinícius Júnior has it in the bag after the unmarked Brazilian tucked away the second goal following a defensive gaffe and told us so – live – into a Rio-b@ntz content cam, as TNT broadcast colleagues Laura Woods and José Mourinho got on with their jobs in the background, wondering why a grown man was repeatedly shouting the name of an award when the scorer’s team going 2-0 up seemed the bigger angle.

But as Ferdinand made his way home, presumably stopping off to bellow “Michelin Star, Michelin Star, Michelin Star” as his chicken pie and chips arrived, there was another former England defender breathing sighs of relief after one of his key men came through the final unscathed. Jude Bellingham – Viní Jr’s main rival in the Ballon d’Or, Ballon d’Or, Ballon d’Or betting – didn’t exactly set Wembley alight, although laid on the clincher for his Brazilian teammate. Gareth Southgate has advised the overworked Bellingham to recharge his batteries but the England boss could be forgiven for a silent smirk at his Premier League players having their legs saved by those early European exits. England’s hopes of Euro 2024 glory in Germany have possibly been enhanced as a result but, most importantly, could one of them win the Player of the Tournament? Ask Rio. Because that’s the real quiz.


Chelsea have confirmed their appointment of Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca, the new manager having accepted the challenge from Todd Boehly and co of returning the club to Big Cup as a bare minimum.


Join Scott Murray from 7.45pm BST for hot minute-by-minute coverage of England 1-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina in their men’s international friendly.


“It is racist. I feel that we need to wake up. This question is insane. I hope I never have to read about such a crap survey again” – Germany head coach Julian Nagelsmann is left shocked after state broadcaster ARD asked survey participants if they would prefer more white players in the national team.

Julian Nagelsmann at a press conference in Herzogenaurach.

Julian Nagelsmann at a press conference in Herzogenaurach. Photograph: Ronald Wittek/EPA


Thanks to our friends at the Guardian Print Shop, we’re giving away more David Squires cartoons. To enter, just write us a letter for publication below. We will choose the best of our letter o’ the day winners at the end of each week and that worthy winner will then be given a voucher for one of our top, top cartoonist’s prints. And if you’re not successful, you can scan the full archive of David’s cartoons here and buy your own. Terms and conditions for the competition can be viewed here.


Re: Andy Gill and managerial action figures (Friday’s Football Daily letters). He might be on to something: Tracksuit Sean Dyche and jacket-and-tie Sean Dyche!” – Dave Shelles.

Here in France, Big Cup final was on free-to-air TV channel TF1. The programme started at 8.45pm, so it was Lenny Kravitz, football, football, lifting of Big Cup. No hours of chat, chat, chat and no ‘expert pundits’. Brilliant. Bonne journee” – Neil Carter.

Send letters to [email protected]Today’s letter o’ the day winner is … Dave Shelles, who now has the chance to win a David Squires cartoon from our print shop at the end of the week. Terms and conditions for all this can be viewed here.

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