Thierry Henry declared the race for the Ballon d'Or over after Karim Benzema lifted the Champions League with Real Madrid on Saturday.

Benzema became just the second French captain to lift the trophy, after Didier Deschamps with Marseille in 1993, following a 1-0 win over Liverpool at the Stade de France.

Carlo Ancelotti's side were largely indebted to the heroics of Thibaut Courtois after the goalkeeper produced nine saves – a Champions League final record since Opta began recording data in 2003-04.

Vinicius Junior may have scored the winner in Paris but a 14th European Cup for Madrid, which is double the tally of second-best Milan (seven), came down to Benzema's efforts throughout the knockout stages.

The 34-year-old netted a hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain, four goals across two legs with Chelsea and three in the tie with Manchester City, including an extra-time penalty to win the semi-final.

Benzema has been involved in 59 goals this season (45 goals, 15 assists) in all competitions, with only France team-mate Kylian Mbappe (60) bettering that total across Europe's top five leagues.

And Arsenal great Henry believes Benzema ended the debate for who should win the Ballon d'Or this year with his success in Paris.

"I just wanted to say something for France Football or whoever is voting. Close the votes, Benzema won it. Bye," Henry said to CBS Sports after the final.

France coach Didier Deschamps will hope Benzema can lead Les Bleus to more World Cup glory in November, and he echoed Henry's sentiments by suggesting the Madrid talisman should win the award.

"The answer is simple: yes. This new title and the sporting season achieved with his team, and what he was able to do, he was so decisive," Deschamps told Telefoot.

"Obviously, he was already one of the favourites and he deserves this reward."

The Ballon d'Or has been won by Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi in 13 of the past 14 seasons, barring when Benzema's team-mate Luka Modric was named the winner in 2018.

While Benzema may believe his achievements on a personal and team level are enough to stave off Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, the Madrid forward insisted he will be satisfied either way.

"Obviously, I finished my season, now I will join up with the national team," Benzema told Canal Plus.

"I think at club level I can't do better. We'll see what happens but in any case I'm proud of what I've achieved."

Pele has congratulated fellow Brazilians Vinicius Junior and Marcelo for their contributions to Real Madrid's triumphant Champions League campaign, which he hailed as a "beautiful adventure". 

Vinicius converted Federico Valverde's cross in the 59th minute to fire Madrid to a 1-0 final win over Liverpool at the Stade de France, as Los Blancos were crowned European champions for a 14th time - seven more occasions than any other team.

With his decisive strike, Vinicius became the first Brazilian player to score the winning goal in a Champions League final since Juliano Belletti did so for Barcelona against Arsenal in 2006, also in Paris.

The winger's sixth goal in the Champions League this season, combined with his previous four assists, made him the first South American aged 21 or younger to record 10 goal contributions in a single edition of the competition since Lionel Messi's 14 in 2008-09 (nine goals, five assists).

Meanwhile, Marcelo lifted the trophy as club captain before announcing his departure from Madrid, having made more appearances for Los Blancos than any other non-Spanish player during his 15-year stay at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Writing on Instagram after the final, Brazil great Pele hailed his compatriots for their roles in Madrid's success, also praising man-of-the-match Thibaut Courtois and Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, who is the first coach to win the Champions League/European Cup four times.

"That's why football is the most beautiful sport in the world. I got to see a dear friend, Vinicius, who overcame so many challenges to decide an epic game," Pele wrote.

"I'm delighted to see Marcelo be the first Brazilian to lift a Champions League trophy as captain. 

"I witnessed an impeccable goalkeeper, Courtois, make inexplicable saves, and a strategist coach, Ancelotti, who knew how to interpret the moment and use the best characteristics of his team. 

"Congratulations Real Madrid. What a beautiful adventure!"

Thibaut Courtois believes he has little chance of winning the Ballon d'Or despite his incredible Champions League final performance for Real Madrid, noting the presence of team-mate Karim Benzema makes such an honour even more unlikely.

Courtois was in imperious form as Madrid claimed their 14th European Cup/Champions League triumph in Paris, making nine saves as Carlo Ancelotti's team beat Liverpool 1-0.

Liverpool managed 24 shots throughout the contest, the most a team has recorded without scoring in a Champions League final since Opta records began (in 2003-04).

Courtois' tally of saves, meanwhile, is the highest on record in a single Champions League final, with his 59 across Madrid's dramatic European campaign also a single-season record (both since 2003-04).

However, after being named man-of-the-match, Courtois cast doubt on his chances of winning the biggest individual prize in world football.

The 30-year-old said goalkeepers have little chance of being named the best player in the world, particularly given the form of Benzema, who scored 44 goals and added 15 assists in all competitions as Madrid were crowned champions of both Spain and Europe.

"It is impossible for a goalkeeper to win it, even more so if he plays in a team with Benzema," he told reporters, as quoted by Tuttomercato.

"I can go far, but it is difficult to win this trophy. 

"For me, what matters is the fact that when I returned to the locker room, all my team-mates were screaming my name. This is worth more than personal recognition."

Lev Yashin is the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d'Or, doing so in 1963, while Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer came third in 2014.

Courtois also topped the Champions League charts for save percentage (80.6, minimum five saves), and goals prevented according to expected goals on target data (4.7) this season, before capping his fine season in perfect fashion in Paris.

While Courtois was keen to emphasise the collective nature of Madrid's success, he believed his saves from Mane in the first half and Salah after the break were crucial.

"It is incredible for me to win the Champions League final like this. For me, it was not important to be a protagonist, it was important to win," he added

"I was ready, I made an important save at 0-0 and one at 1-0. The one on Salah with my hand was beautiful, but also the one with my foot.

"I'm here to help my teammates, to keep the clean sheet and win. I'm happy to have been MVP in the final."

Meanwhile, Courtois also wished Liverpool supporters well after kick-off was twice delayed amid reports of heavy-handed policing in Paris.

Writing on Twitter on Sunday, the former Chelsea man said: "I feel sorry for Liverpool fans and the way they were treated. I hope everyone got home safe!"

Andrew Robertson says the organisation of the Champions League final was a "shambles" after there were chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France on Saturday.

The kick-off for the showdown in Paris was delayed by over half an hour, with UEFA putting the delay down to turnstiles being blocked at the Liverpool end of the stadium by thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets.

A message on the big screen inside the ground had claimed the game was unable to start on time due to "the late arrival of fans".

Police used tear gas to try and disperse the crowds outside the stadium before a final that ended in a 1-0 victory for Real Madrid courtesy of Vinicius Junior's second-half goal.

Liverpool defender Robertson says the scenes prior to kick-off were not acceptable.

He told BBC Sport: "One of my mates got told it was a fake which I assure you it wasn't. It was a shambles really."

UEFA vowed to further review the matters with French police and authorities and the French Football Federation.

Robertson added: "To be honest people were just making it up at times and panicking. Tear gas getting thrown at people was unacceptable.

"It was horrendous for our fans and all families that have been through it as well. It wasn't a nice experience, not a nice final to come to. The Champions League should be a celebration but it wasn't that.

"Obviously the final wasn't meant to be here and whether the preparations were not as good as maybe they should have been but I am sure in the coming days an inquest will go into that."

Veteran Brazilian full-back Marcelo has confirmed he is leaving Real Madrid following their Champions League final triumph.

The 34-year-old left-back has been with Los Blancos since 2007, making almost 550 appearances for the Spanish powerhouse, trailing only Karim Benzema as the highest-ranking foreigner.

Marcelo, who was an unused substitute in Saturday's 1-0 win over Liverpool, confirmed after the game that he would leave the club this off-season with his contract expiring at the end of June.

"It was my last game with Real Madrid," Marcelo said.

Marcelo will exit the club with 25 titles as a Madridista, which is more than any other player in club history.

It had been speculated that the Brazilian may accept a pay cut to remain with Madrid next season.

Marcelo, who joined Madrid from Fluminense, made 18 appearances in all competitions this campaign.

Vinicius Junior hopes he has won the first of many Champions League titles after helping Real Madrid become European champions for a 14th time, defeating Liverpool 1-0.

Vinicius was the sole goalscorer in Saturday's final in Paris, left with a simple tap-in after Luka Modric's pass cut Liverpool open and released Federico Valverde to drill in a cross in the 59th minute.

Another victory clinched a double for Madrid after they claimed the LaLiga title with four games to spare in April.

This was special for Vinicius, though, as his breakthrough Champions League triumph, and he was struggling to come to terms with his achievement as he spoke to Movistar afterwards.

"Inexplicable. I have no idea what I have done today," he said. "Now to celebrate and have a lot of fun. We have enjoyed what we have done, getting here and winning... there is nothing better than winning with this shirt.

"It was a dream for me. To have scored in the final is the best thing a player can have. It's the first. I want to keep winning and keep making history here for a long time."

While Vinicius was new to this stage, 36-year-old Modric was not.

Much like in the 2018 final against Liverpool in Kyiv, Modric was at decisive best as the match progressed, riding out the initial waves of Reds energy to ultimately nullify their pressing.

A pivotal figure in the club's run in the knockout stages to make the Champions League final, and with a contract extension on the horizon, Modric also intends to stick around and keep winning.

"We're still letting what we've done sink in," he told Movistar. "This club is without doubt the greatest in the history of football. We always say that, and we have to repeat it – there’s nothing like Real Madrid.

"Character, never giving up, believing right to the end. We did that today. Five Champions Leagues were impossible to imagine. But now I have five, and hopefully there'll be more."

Jurgen Klopp congratulated Real Madrid on their Champions League final win but highlighted the number of statistics in Liverpool's favour as they came up just short in Paris.

Indeed, Klopp claimed a historic performance from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois could only be possible if "something is going wrong" for victors Madrid.

Courtois made nine saves against Liverpool to preserve a clean sheet, capping one of the great individual Champions League campaigns.

He finished top of the competition's charts for saves (59), save percentage (80.6, minimum five saves) and goals prevented according to expected goals on target data (4.7).

Courtois capped his terrific European run in style at the Stade de France, as his save tallies for both the final and the campaign as a whole were highs for any single Champions League season since Opta records began in 2003-04.

His heroics also contributed to Liverpool setting a new record for the most shots attempted in a final without scoring (24).

Despite this profligacy, with Vinicius Junior putting away one of just four Madrid attempts in a 1-0 success, Klopp put forward Liverpool's case for winning the match and pinpointed Courtois' display as a concern for their opponents.

"After the game, when I saw the stats, it was 50-50 possession," he told a news conference. "We had a lot more shots, a lot more shots on target, but the most decisive stat is absolutely on Madrid's side.

"Just to make sure that nobody thinks I wouldn't congratulate Real Madrid, I do that now, but I [also] congratulated everybody present and involved outside personally.

"They scored a goal, we didn't – that's the easiest explanation in the world of football, and it's hard, harsh to get anyway, [but we] respect that of course.

"When the goalkeeper is man of the match then something is going wrong for the other team, so we had, I think, three really big chances where Courtois made incredible saves. I would have loved to have had a few more of this calibre."

This was Liverpool's 63rd game of a long season, in which they played three finals and took the Premier League title race to the wire, and Klopp acknowledged fatigue could have been a factor while still believing the Reds did enough to go home with the trophy.

"Let me say, [the number of matches] doesn't help, but I don't think it was the reason," he added.

"We all know, the chances we had, when the player shoots a ball, the ball going in or is on the foot actually only an inch, that's all. Nothing to do with being at the peak of your physical things or not.

"We had these situations, the chance in the one-on-one situation from close range from Mo [Salah]; we know how often Mo scored in these situations. It was just an outstanding save from Courtois, we have to respect that as well.

"I think Madrid had one shot on target, is that right? And that was a goal.

"But, look, I understand 100 per cent and I respect 100 per cent the reason for playing football and having these kinds of competitions is to win the game, and whatever you do – as long as it's in the rules – it's allowed and you can do it. It's completely fine."

Andrew Robertson described Liverpool's players as "devastated" by their Champions League final loss to Real Madrid, as Vinicius Junior's winner condemned the Reds to a heartbreaking reverse in Paris.

The Brazil winger's 59th-minute goal ensured Madrid repeated their 2018 final win over Liverpool to earn their 14th European crown, while only Juventus (five) have now lost more Champions League finals than the Reds (three).

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp has now lost more finals in the competition than any other coach (three), and despite winning the EFL Cup and FA Cup after penalty shoot-outs, Liverpool have failed to score a single goal in five and a half hours of football in major finals this term.

Having threatened a quadruple after embarking on a brilliant four-front trophy hunt this season, Liverpool only have the domestic cups to show for their efforts after also missing out on the Premier League title to Manchester City.

Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Robertson said the Liverpool dressing room was a sombre place following the narrow reverse, admitting his side had not reached their highest level at the Stade de France.

The Scotland international also hailed Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois after he put in a remarkable performance to keep out the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

"Obviously it's quiet, devastated – that's what happens when you come to finals and don't win," Robertson said of the atmosphere among the Liverpool ranks.

"We had chances, we came up against an unbelievable goalie tonight, he pulled off some unbelievable saves. But if we're being honest as well, I think we could have played a bit better, especially in the second half. 

"I thought first half we played well, we were in control, we were the ones pushing. Second half, we didn't start great, they started getting a hold of the game a bit more. 

"When you come up against an experienced team, they know how to win finals. Once they got their noses in front, they showed that."

Liverpool dominated for long periods in the French capital, attempting 24 shots across the contest.

That tally is the most a team have mustered without scoring in a Champions League final since records began (in 2003-04), and Liverpool were punished for their failure to break the deadlock when Vinicius turned home from Federico Valverde's cross.

Robertson was left to rue Madrid's counter-attacking excellence after the loss, also praising the LaLiga champions for their ability to see out the lead.

"We're a pressing team, we try to press from the front, and it's worked so much for us this season," he added. 

"We were trying to win the ball high up, and obviously they've ended up breaking, and then we've been caught at the back post, and next minute it's in the back of your net. That's football for you, and you have to deal with that. 

"Obviously it's hard to get back into the game when you're playing against a very experienced team in these finals, they know exactly how to see out a game. 

"We had our chances, but it just wasn't meant to be."

Jurgen Klopp has revealed the families of Liverpool's players were caught up in the chaotic scenes ahead of their Champions League final with Real Madrid at the Stade de France.

Saturday's contest was delayed by 36 minutes due to large numbers of Liverpool fans still being outside the ground ahead of the scheduled start time of 21:00 CET.

Police outside the venue have been reported to have used tear gas or pepper spray, while a number of fans were recorded attempting to climb over safety barriers.

European football's governing body blamed the delays on supporters with fake tickets trying to get into the 81,000-capacity stadium.

However, in a statement released shortly before full-time in their 1-0 loss, Liverpool hit out at those in charge of security and called for an investigation to be held.

Asked at his post-match news conference about the incident, and the ensuing fallout, Klopp said: "I haven't been able to speak to my family about it yet.

"I know families had a real struggle getting into the stadium. I heard a few things were not good.

"What I heard is that we will have further investigations to figure out what was going on there. Obviously it was pretty tricky out there, but I don’t know more about it."

Vinicius Junior scored the only goal in the 59th minute, though Madrid required a number of fine saves from Thibaut Courtois to land their fifth Champions League in nine years.

Liverpool end a gruelling 2021-22 campaign with an EFL Cup and FA Cup double, having missed out by a point to Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

Michael Owen described Liverpool as the best team in Europe after they lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, but Rio Ferdinand said it was "disrespectful" to rank the Reds ahead of their conquerors.

Former England striker Owen had playing spells with both Liverpool and Madrid, and he remains convinced the Reds are the continent's top side, despite them finishing runners-up to Manchester City in the Premier League and now Madrid in Europe.

After chasing a quadruple for months, Liverpool have finished a remarkable season as FA Cup and EFL Cup winners.

Vinicius Junior settled Saturday's final in Paris, with Thibaut Courtois pulling off several fine saves to keep out Liverpool and clinch a 1-0 win.

"I still think they're the best team in Europe, I really do," Owen said, assessing Liverpool as a pundit on BT Sport.

"On other occasions, Liverpool would be having their name etched on the trophy this time.

"The season they've had, I still think they're the team to beat. Real Madrid have got past them today, but you [Ferdinand] know as well as anyone, a one-off game is a one-off game, it's exactly that. I still think they're the most fearsome team in Europe, and they've not got any of the big two trophies this season to show for that, and that will be the biggest pill to swallow."

Ferdinand, a former captain of Manchester United, responded by saying: "How can you say they're the best team in Europe when they've lost the league, and they've lost the Champions League final?"

Ferdinand acknowledged Liverpool have become an "unbelievably exciting team", but he said: "You've got to get your hands on the big trophies to be called outright the best team in Europe.

"I don't think they can be considered that, and I think it would be disrespectful to a team like Madrid who have gone and done what they've done."

Florentino Perez claimed he had "already forgotten" Real Madrid's failed pursuit of Kylian Mbappe after watching his side beat Liverpool in the Champions League final.

Mbappe was widely expected to join Madrid when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expired this year.

But the World Cup winner had a change of heart last week and instead committed to a new three-year deal in Paris.

Rather than have Mbappe come to Madrid, Madrid came to him on Saturday, visiting the French capital for another Champions League final and another triumph, winning their 14th European crown and making it eight successive victories when reaching the competition's final.

Vinicius Junior netted the only goal in a 1-0 win, showing the sort of firepower Madrid still possess even without Mbappe.

And president Perez vowed the LaLiga and European champions will continue to chase the world's best players after their transfer disappointment.

"Mbappe is already forgotten," he told Movistar. "We have had a perfect season and we will continue to work to get the best players."

Madrid already have one of the best around in goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who made a record nine Champions League final saves to keep Mohamed Salah and Liverpool at bay.

"Thibaut has had a spectacular season," Perez said of the Belgian. "He is the best goalkeeper in the world, and that's why we brought him to Real Madrid."

 

Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool's players were hurting after their Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, but declared the Reds "will come again" after the narrow reverse in Paris.

Klopp added next year's final in Istanbul was already a target, advising supporters: "Book the hotel!"

A 1-0 loss to Madrid at the Stade de France meant Liverpool were left with FA Cup and EFL Cup triumphs to show for a season in which they threatened an unprecedented quadruple.

Manchester City denied them the Premier League title on the competition's dramatic final day last Sunday, and it was Champions League specialists Madrid who toppled them on Saturday to claim their 14th European crown, with Vinicius Junior netting a second-half winner.

"Everyone in the dressing room, nobody feels it was a great season at the moment," Klopp told BT Sport after the loss. "We probably need a few minutes for that, maybe hours."

He said two decisions had gone against Liverpool by "the smallest margin possible", but did not specify which incidents he was referring to.

"We played a good game, not the perfect game," Klopp added. "We had a lot of shots but not the clearest, only three or so where [Thibaut] Courtois made top saves.

"Then we conceded a goal... Vinicius was there and that was it."

Klopp said Liverpool tried "absolutely everything" after he had told his players to "be more brave in the second half."

Vinicius struck just before the hour mark, and Liverpool huffed and puffed but were not at their best as Madrid repelled the threat of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, with Courtois outstanding as the last line of defence.

The Belgian made nine saves in the match, the most on record by a goalkeeper in a single Champions League final (since 2003-04).

Klopp added he was alone among the Liverpool contingent in being able to put the game swiftly into perspective.

"It's not hard. I have that already, but I'm the only one in the dressing room," he said.

"I know it's not the success you want to have, but I have the strong feeling we will come again. That's how it is, because the boys are competitive.

"We have an outstanding group together and will have again an outstanding group next year. Then we go again. We obviously have to try a bit more often than others but no problem.

"Where's it next year? Istanbul? Yeah, book the hotel."

Vinicius Junior and Thibaut Courtois were the heroes as Real Madrid downed Liverpool 1-0 in the Champions League final in Paris, securing a record-extending 14th European crown for Los Blancos.

Vinicius' second-half winner proved decisive as Liverpool failed to find a way past the outstanding Courtois despite piling on the pressure, as Madrid repeated their 2018 final win over the Reds.

While Jurgen Klopp's team have now missed out on both the Premier League and Champions League trophies after leading an incredible four-front fight for silverware this season, Carlo Ancelotti has led Madrid to a terrific LaLiga and Champions League double, reaching a personal landmark along the way.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the best Opta facts from the fiercely contested final.

After kick-off was twice delayed at the Stade de France, Liverpool made a fast start to the contest but found Courtois in imperious form as they eventually fell to their third Champions League final defeat – only Juventus (five) have lost more, while Jurgen Klopp has lost more finals in the competition than any other manager (three).

It was not for want of trying, however: Liverpool had as many shots on target in the first half (five) as they did in their previous two Champions League final appearances combined (two in 2018 and three in 2019).

The Reds ended the match having racked up 24 shots, the most on record (since 2003-04) from a team who failed to score in a Champions League final. 

Meanwhile, Courtois' nine saves in the match made up the highest tally in a single Champions League final (since 2003-04), surpassing Liverpool's Allison (in 2019) and Manchester United's Edwin Van der Sar (in 2011), both with eight.

Courtois also made 59 saves throughout Madrid's run in the competition this term, setting a new single-season record after Petr Cech made 58 for Chelsea in their triumphant 2011-12 campaign (since 2003-04).

But it was Vinicius who proved the match-winner, escaping Trent Alexander-Arnold's attentions to tap home from Federico Valverde's cross in the 59th minute.

Vinicius' goal made him the first South American to register 10 goal involvements in a single Champions League campaign (four goals, six assists) while aged 21 or under since Lionel Messi recorded 14 for Barcelona in 2008-09 (nine goals, five assists).

Furthermore, at 21 years and 320 days old, the Brazilian became the second-youngest player to net for Los Blancos in a European Cup or Champions League final, after Marco Asensio against Juventus in 2017 (21 years, 133 days), and the first Brazilian to score the winner in the competition's final since Juliano Belletti for Barcelona in 2006, also in Paris (against Arsenal).

Madrid's victory means they have won the European Cup or Champions League twice as many times (14) as the next-most successful club in the competition's history (Milan with seven), and Los Blancos have also won in each of their last eight final appearances, defeating Liverpool in their past two.

Finally, Ancelotti became the most successful coach in the competition's history with his fourth title (also 2002-03 and 2006-07 with Milan and 2013-14 with Madrid), as he moved clear of Madrid predecessor Zinedine Zidane and Liverpool great Bob Paisley (both three).

Karim Benzema proudly declared "we are the best again" after Real Madrid secured another Champions League title with a 1-0 win over Liverpool.

France international Benzema largely watched on as Liverpool bombarded Madrid's goal in the first half at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds attempted five shots on target in the opening 45 minutes, as many as Liverpool had mustered in their previous two Champions League finals combined (two in 2018 and three in 2019).

During that first-half rearguard display in Paris, Benzema saw a goal ruled out shortly before the interval after being adjudged to stray offside inside the area.

But Vinicius Junior delivered the decisive strike just before the hour, while Thibaut Courtois thwarted Liverpool as Madrid held on for a record-extending 14th European Cup, more than double any other side.

Benzema became just the second French captain to lift the trophy, after Didier Deschamps with Marseille in 1993, and the Madrid talisman was quick to salute his side.

"We are the best again. It has been a very difficult season for us, and we deserved it again," he told Movistar.

"The game was very difficult, but we showed everyone that we are alive, and we won. A final always involves hard work and tiredness...

"We scored an offside goal and got into the game in the second half to end up winning the final."

Benzema also expressed his delight at winning the Champions League in his home country as he eyes the Ballon d'Or before heading to the World Cup with France.

"It means a lot to me, it's very important. I'm very proud," he continued.

On the Ballon d'Or, the 34-year-old added: "Let's see if it happens. Hopefully. But the most important thing is to enjoy today's victory."

Carlo Ancelotti declared himself the "record man" after becoming the first coach to win the European Cup or Champions League four times after Vinicius Junior fired Real Madrid to a 1-0 final win over Liverpool.

Vinicius' second-half goal proved decisive as Madrid won their 14th European crown – twice as many as any other side has managed in the competition's history – as Los Blancos added European football's biggest prize to their LaLiga title triumph.

Madrid had to stand firm in the face of sustained Liverpool pressure, with Jurgen Klopp's men registering 24 shots during the course of the contest, but Los Blancos produced a resilient performance to replicate their 2018 final win over the Reds.

Having led Milan to Champions League titles in 2002-03 and 2006-07 and done likewise with Madrid in 2013-14 and 2021-22, Ancelotti is now the most successful manager in the history of the competition.

Speaking to BT Sport in the aftermath of the win, the Italian said he felt fortunate to have returned to the Santiago Bernabeu prior to the start of the season, also hailing his team's character after they followed up a series of dramatic European comebacks with another final victory.

"I am the record man!" he laughed. "I had the luck to come here last year, and to have a fantastic season. 

"I found, as usual, a fantastic club and a really good squad, with a lot of quality and a strong mental character. I think this season was top. 

"I cannot believe it. I think that we had a fantastic season, and we did really well. It was a difficult game. 

"We suffered a lot, more at the start, [we were] better second half. I think in the end, with all the games that we played, we deserved to win this competition.

"I think that we passed through a really difficult game every game, the supporters helped us a lot, in the last game [a 6-5 aggregate semi-final win over Manchester City] and tonight.

"We are really happy, honestly, what can I say? I cannot say more."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois played a crucial role in ensuring the victory, making nine saves during the game, the most on record by a goalkeeper in a single Champions League final (since 2003-04).

Asked to describe the Belgian's performance, Ancelotti was lost for words, saying: "Unbelievable. I tell you, I cannot believe it!"

Madrid had already become the first team to reach the Champions League final after losing a game in each of the last 16, quarter-finals, and semi-finals, making their triumph one of the most dramatic in recent history.

Asked about Madrid's incredible record on the biggest stage by M+, Ancelotti shrugged: "This is Real Madrid."

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