On this day, May 24, 2014: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale help Real Madrid complete 'La Decima'

On this day, May 24, 2014: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale help Real Madrid complete 'La Decima'
On this day, May 24, 2014: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale help Real Madrid complete 'La Decima'

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - La Decima had been a long-standing dream of Real Madrid. Winning the European Cup for the 10th time would be unprecedented.

A golden opportunity came on May 24, 2014 in the Champions League final against city rivals Atletico Madrid at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. Carlo Ancelotti’s Real did not expect a walk in the park against Diego Simeone’s tenacious Atletico, the newly crowned La Liga champions. But they surely would not have anticipated the bruising encounter that unfolded.

Diego Godin made the most of an error from Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas to take a first-half lead, and Atletico held on to the lead with all their might until injury time where Sergio Ramos headed in Luka Modric's corner.

That took the wind out of Atletico’s sails and Real bulldozed their way through in extra time. Gareth Bale, who was still justifying his mega move from Tottenham the previous summer, headed in from a tight angle after goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois blocked Angel Di Maria's shot with 11 minutes left. That was, effectively, game over.

Substitute Marcelo put the result beyond doubt with a third while Cristiano Ronaldo got a chance to have the final say on the night, scoring his 17th goal of the campaign from the penalty spot.

It was all a bit too much for Simeone to handle. After the fourth goal, he stormed the pitch to confront Real's Raphael Varane and was given his marching orders.

And with that, Real became the first club to claim the European Cup 10 times.

After making Real fight tooth and nail for the title, Simeone said Ancelotti’s team deserved the win. ‘‘If you look at the whole match Real Madrid were better. In the second half they played better. They kept us pinned in our half. That is hard to do against a team like Real Madrid,” Simeone said.

“I told my players there is no point crying. When you have played as well as they have, you need to keep your head up and think about next season."

On his part, Ancelotti said it was just the start for his team.

“This Champions League win is not the end of a cycle, it is the start of one. We have a very young and high quality team. We have players who will improve next season, such as those who arrived this year; Illarra, Isco…" Ancelotti said.

"This cup motivates us to be better next year. Previous years have provided motivation and strength to the team because of negative experiences. It's not easy reaching three semi-finals in a row and not playing in the final”.

Those turned out to be prophetic words. The victorious night on Lisbon opened the floodgates for Real. After waiting for their 10th title for 12 years, they captured the European crown three times in the next four years.

Updated: May 24, 2020 08:29 AM

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