‘Endless Glory’ was the headline on Sunday’s Madrid based Marca after Real Madrid won an11th European Cup. ‘11 European Cups!’ continued the headline of an extra thick edition, complete with a graphic of all eleven. There are Barça fans who don’t recognise the first five between 1956-60 as they think it was a tin pot competition, but nobody can touch Madrid’s record in Europe. They’ve won five big cups since 1998, a record which compares with Barça’s four in the last decade. Whichever way you look at it, no club has a recent record compared to the Spanish giants.
The first 13 pages were dedicated to Real’s triumph, but there is another giant in Spain’s capital. Atletico Madrid were also the finalists in Milan, the vanquished foe after a penalty shoot-out in which full-back Juanfran was the only one of ten players to miss a penalty.
“Damn that post!” was Marca’s page 13 headline – a double meaning since Juanfran hit the post but Antoine Griezmann also hit the woodwork with a second half penalty. “Atletico is the only team toplay in three European Cup finals and not win one,” wrote Marca after their defeats in 1974, 2014 and 2016.
There were celebrations around the Cibeles fountain, which the nearby fountain of Neptuno stood empty, but they were not without a cloud after 12 Madrid fans were shot dead in Iraq while watching the game.
“For the second time in less than a month a Real Madrid supporters club near Baghdad has been targeted by terrorists,” wrote Alfredo Relano in AS. “These people are a scourge, seemingly against any form of enjoyment, irrespective how simple a pleasure it may be and enjoying a game of football is just that. Madrid’s celebrations were overshadowed by these events perpetrated against normal supporters.”
“GRANDIOSE!” screamed L’Équipe on Sunday morning above a photograph of Zinédine Zidane being lifted above the heads of his jubilant Real Madrid players, after the French legend led his teamto their 11th European Cup triumph. “Zidane becomes the seventh man to win the European Cup as a coach having already won it as a player.” “Zidane’s Real win their Undecima!” added Le Monde, also revelling in their countryman’s success, “Zizou makes a sensational entrance into the pantheon of managers of the very highest level.”
“A ray of sunshine for Benzema, but Griezmann will have to take stock” said Le Figaro, highlighting the fortunes of the two French strikers leading their respective teams’ attacks. “Benzema is not a player for finals, but this victory will banish the memory of a black season off the pitch, dominated by the sex-tape affair. Time for Karim to take a holiday, far away from France.”
France Football said Griezmann “missed the opportunity to be a big player in this final and will have to pick himself up for the Euros after an exhausting season which has finished on a
L’Équipe weren’t enamoured by the two strikers’ performances either, saying: “Benzema and Griezmann – two Frenchmen pose little threat. For the sixth time in a major final, Benzema was subdued at an altitude where Zidane has written himself into legend.”
Nevertheless, FranceFootball still found reason to criticise the former captain of Les Bleus for his decision to substitute Toni Kroos in the 72nd minute. “What got into Zizou? Real lost their way and all sense of direction after that change.” As for Athlético, FranceFootball questioned whether they are “cursed.”
Back in domestic matters, L’Équipe report that PSG are interested in Juventus’ Alavaro Morata to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and that Edison Cavani is set to sign a contract extension with the French champions. According to Le Parisien, PSG have not given up on luring Leicester City’s N’Golo Kanté to Paris, either.
Finally, looking ahead to Euro 2016, Wednesday’s L’Équipe lead with a feature on the security situation in France. “Facing up to the threat – fan zones, team protection and hooliganism – are we really ready?”
Ahead of the Champions League final, Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung conducted an extensive interview with Jorge Valdano in which the former Real Madrid player and general manager praised Toni Kroos as a “great midfield conductor” who “represents the evolution of German football.” By Sunday morning, Kroos hadbecome the first German to win the competition with two different teams, butthe same paper lamented that, “once again, Kroos watches from the sidelines”after being substituted.
Elsewhere, Spiegel labelled Real “unpopular but deserved winners – Real Madrid win. Again. Atlético lose. As always. Pepe gets slagged off. Obviously. But the best team won.” Tagesspiegel said the all-Madrid final only emphasised Spain’s footballing might. “England’s Premier League might have the most financial muscle, the Bundesliga might attract the most spectators, but from a purely footballing point of view, the Primera Division is miles ahead – Spain is the dominant football nation of our times.”
In transfer news, Robert Lewandowski’s agent told Spiegel that Real Madrid had offered the Polish striker a 6-year deal worth €25m a year. But Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge banished any speculation, confirming in Kicker that “Lewandowski will be at Bayern next season.” Sunday’s Hannoversche Allgemeine reported that former Manchester United trainee Ron-Robert Zieler has completed a move from Hannover to Leicester City.
Finally behind the scenes, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung claimed on Saturday that FIFA President Gianni Infantino had undermined attempts by FIFA’s independent supervisory body to scrutinise Infantino’s expenses.
In Italy, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, long a fixture of Italian front pages, is back in the front of La Gazzeta Dello Sport. “The days of Ibra” is the headline on Monday, “Milan, Zlatan and the Chinese…a key week.” Silvio Berlusconi had an ever outspoken take. ‘Zlatan?’ said the Milan man and former Italian PM. ‘He costs as much as Monopoly. If I remain Honorary President, I’ll make decisions’ . The Swede, 34, loves Italy, but if it’s money he’s after then he’ll find more in China or England.
Ibrahimovic is represented by the seldom shya nd retiring Mino Raiola, who also represents Paul Pogba. Juventus are confident of keeping the former Manchester United midfielder, if not Spanish forward Alvaro Morata. La Gazzeta reports coach Allegri saying: ‘I want to keep the Spaniard and Pogba to win the Champions League’. That’s the overriding sentiment in the Juventus dressing room after they won a second successive double double. The Spanish giants will have a thing or two to say about that.