Real Madrid made Champions League history two years ago

On this day two years ago, Real Madrid made Champions League history, becoming the first team to retain the European crown in the new format of the competition.

Real Madrid went into the 2016-17 campaign as European champions, after winning the 2016 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on penalties at San Siro.

They started the defense of their crown with a comeback victory over Sporting Lisbon at Santiago Bernabeu, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata scored in the dying moments of the game to secure a 2-1 win for Zinedine Zidan’s side.

Los Blancos however, were unable to win against Borussia Dortmund, drawing 2-2 in both encounters with the Black and Yellows. They also drew with Legia Warsaw and finished the group stage in the second place with 12 points.

Madrid eased past Napoli in the round of 16, noting 3-1 wins in both legs against the Serie A side. They faced their European rivals Bayern Munich in an exciting quarter-finals tie, which saw some controversial moments in favor of the defending champions.

Cristiano Ronaldo was Real Madrid’s talisman, netting five goals in both games against the Bundesliga giants. He scored a brace at the Allianz Arena to turn the game around after Arturo Vidal’s opener in the first half. In the second leg, Ronaldo first scored Madrid’s only goal in the regular 90 minutes, as Bayern secured a 2-1 victory and the game went into extra-time.

The Bavarians, however, played with 10 men after Arturo Vidal’s red card in the 84th minute. Madrid used their advantage on the field to win the game 4-2, as Cristiano Ronaldo completed a hat-trick in the extra time, while Marco Asensio only confirmed the victory.

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Los Blancos faced their cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals. Cristiano Ronaldo was once again the star of the night in the first leg, netting another Champions League hat-trick to seal a 3-0 win at the Bernabeu.

The Colchoneros started the second leg in strong fashion netting two early goals, to cut Real’s advantage to only one goal. Isco sunk Atletico’s hopes at the end of the first half though, as he found the net after a great solo effort by Karim Benzema.

Real Madrid faced Juventus in their third Champions League final in four years. Juventus also returned to the final, after losing 3-1 to Barcelona only two years before. The game was played on 3 June 2017 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened Madrid’s account in the 20th minute, while Mario Mandzukic leveled the score with an attractive over-head kick. It was all square at half time, but Los Blancos were just too good in the second. Casemiro and Ronaldo again, made it 3-1 for the defending champions in only three minutes, while Asensio put the game to bed in the last minute.

Real Madrid became the first team in Champions League’s history to retain the crown, and they did it again in 2018, making it three European Cups in a row.

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