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It was a night for greatness. Greatness in the shape of Zidane, who won his second Champions League in just the 20th European match of his short managerial career, to go with the Liga title this season. The man who has been a manager for less than 18 months now has one league title and two Champions Leagues under his belt. With another one as a player, in 2002, and one as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti in 2014, Zidane can lay claim to four in total, just one short of Alfredo Di Stefano. This was a night to elevate him to super coach status. Touted as Madrid’s answer to Pep Guardiola, he has forged a period of dominance in this competition that even that great Barcelona side could not manage. Three titles in four years is better than any team has performed since Bayern Munich won three in a row in the late 1970s.
It was a triumph which made the sceptics rethink their appraisal of Zidane. While he could have succumbed to sentiment and started Gareth Bale in his home stadium, he got his big decision right and the Wales hero had to make do with a late cameo as Isco started in his place, becoming increasingly influential as the game progressed. By contrast, opposite number Massimiliano Allegri acknowledged an error on his part when he took off Andrea Barzagli on 66 minutes and switched formations to a back four from a back three, bringing on Juan Cuadrado. Juve were already 3-1 down though and the winger later saw red. Instead it was Zidane who had the magic touch, with his own substitute Asensio wrapping things up late on, his precociousness hinting that Madrid’s reign may not end anytime soon.
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