What a great Champions League final that was last night in Lisbon, between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in what was the very first time that two clubs from the same city had contested the European final.
Gareth Bale after scoring Real’s second goal
And it looked like Atletico were going to win it for the first time with a goal from Godin in the first half, but then after all out pressure from Real, the equalized in the 94th minute from a header from a corner from Sergio Ramos, who seems to have a habit of scoring vital goals.
And then with Atletico visibly tiring after a monumental effort, Real Madrid scored three goals in extra time, starting with a good headed goal from Gareth Bale, after he missed three decent chances.
And then Marcello scored and a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo ended the scoring, with the two final goals coming in the last two minutes and it was never a 4-1 game.
It’s been pointed out that Real have spent $1B on transfers since 2002, when they last won the Champions League when former Liverpool and England winger Steve McManaman came on as a substitute in that game – a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen – and that was the third Real Madrid win in the previous five Champions League competitions.
Atletico have spent only about $100M or less on transfers, but they have a manager in Diego Simeone, who interestingly enough is the 106 times capped Argentine International, who David Beckham fouled in the World Cup quarter-final of 1998 in France, to get himself sent off.
But there’s no doubt that Simeone gets the very best out of his players, and he has turned the club around in the last 30 months since signing on at the club he had played the most games for in his great career.
And of course Atletico won the Spanish League this year, and almost won the Champions League last night for the first time.
So we suppose it doesn’t always take big money to create a top side (just most of the time), but if you haven’t got the big money, what you need is a top manager who can get the very best out of his players.
With the poor performances of Newcastle over the last two seasons, that doesn’t seem to be Alan Pardew, but Everton, Southampton and Liverpool have proved that with new young managers like Roberto Martinez, Mauricio Pochettino and Brendan Rodgers, you can quickly create a good side who play some exciting football.
That seemed to be Mike Ashley’s opportunity at the end of the season, to bring in a new manager, preferably one who was fairly unknown but would become a top manager on Tyneside, much like when we gave Kevin Keegan his first chance at management back in the early 1990s.
Yes, I’m dreaming again.
But Mike took the conservative approach and kept with Alan Pardew – and probably also kept the mediocrity we have seen from Newcastle in the seven years he has owned the club.
I wouldn’t have been the only Newcastle fan last night thinking of what it would be like if a certain Newcastle United were playing in the European Champions League final – but that will remain a dream for years and years to come – unfortunately.
It will certainly not happen in my lifetime or my children’s lifetime.
And top ten in the Premier League is all we will probably hear from the powers that be at Newcastle, and also that we cannot compete with the top clubs.
How boring can you get?
What do you think?