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Leagues: Champions League

Buffon hails Madrid class after final heartbreak


Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon conceded Real Madrid’s superior ability had made the difference after his side crashed to a 4-1 defeat in Saturday’s Champions League final in Cardiff.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Madrid overwhelmed Juventus at the Principality Stadium to become the first team to retain the European Cup since AC Milan in 1990.

Italy great Buffon, 39, has now lost in three Champions League finals, after previous disappointments in 2003 and 2015, while Juve have lost in their last five European Cup finals, taking their tally of runner-up finishes to seven.

“We are disappointed,” goalkeeper Buffon said in comments published on the website of European governing body UEFA.

“We played very well in the first half. We thought we had enough to win the game. I cannot explain why we played like we did in the second half.

“Real Madrid deserved to win in the second half. They showed their class and the attitude needed to play in this kind of game.”

Ronaldo’s 20th-minute opener was cancelled out by a stupendous Mario Mandzukic goal, the Croatian chesting down Gonzalo Higuain’s volleyed lay-off and arcing a sublime volley over Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

But Casemiro restored Madrid’s lead just beyond the hour and further strikes from Ronaldo and substitute Marco Asensio sealed victory for Zinedine Zidane’s side, European champions in three of the last four seasons.

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