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MAYBE it’s the sheer weight of history, maybe it’s supreme self-confidence, maybe it’s black magic from the men in white.

But when Old Big Ears is in the building, Real Madrid always find a way.

No wonder Jude Bellingham was so desperate to get to the Bernabeu.

The Englishman laid on Real’s second goal for Vinicius Junior after Dani Carvajal’s late headed opener.


The Birmingham boy is a European champion at club level at the age of 20. Now how about international level too?

Bellingham sunk to his knees when Vinicius netted, then he was substituted by Carlo Ancelotti and blew kisses to the adoring Madristas who serenaded him.

The Spanish aristocrats secured a 15th European Cup, despite being outplayed by Borussia Dortmund’s underdogs for the majority of this Champions League Final at a cacophonous Wembley.

It was Real’s eighth successive victory in this grandest of fixtures with its big-eared trophy.

Indeed they have not lost any European final since being defeated by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen in the old Cup-winner’s Cup back in 1983.

In truth Bellingham’s fellow Englishman, Manchester United outcast Jadon Sancho had a better game but Real’s midfield maestro couldn’t have cared less.

Real’s fans had swaggered out of Wembley Park tube station singing ‘Hey Jude’ in honour of their Brummie idol.

Inside the ground, Dortmund’s travelling army recreated the Westfalenstadion’s famous yellow wall, bouncing, hollering and waving vast flags.

Their side may have finished fifth in the Bundesliga but their run to the final had seen them progress through a Group of Death and defeat Paris Saint-Germain in the semis.

After a five-minute Lenny Kravitz gig – why do they bother? – the opening minutes were shambolic, with four separate pitch invaders delaying proceedings.

Federico Valverde exchanged passes with two team-mates but ballooned his shot.

Then Julian Brandt screwed a shot wide after a neat lay-off from Niclas Fullkrug.

Eduardo Camavinga was setting the midfield rhythm in the anchor for Real but the first clear sight of goal fell to Dortmund’s Karim Adeyemi.

The forward was sent clean through but goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – known as f***ing Courtois by Jurgen Klopp after his heroics in the 2022 final against Liverpool – advanced and forced him out wide, where his shot was blocked.

Suddenly Real were rocking. Borussia’s Chelsea loanee Ian Maatsen sent Fullkrug through but the centre-forward fired against the inside of the post before the ball was scrambled clear.

Next, Sancho scampered forward and fed Adeyemi, whose angled shot was pushed out by Courtois – Fullkrug failing to connect properly with the rebound.

The situation was so alarming for Real that Ancelotti, the coolest dude in world football, started getting animated on the touchline.

Real were losing their rags and Vinicius Junior was booked for a late lunge on keeper Gregor Kobe.

Bellingham was struggling to exert any influence from his position on the left of Real’s midfield, while Sancho was having plenty of joy on the right for Dortmund.

Courtois then flung himself low to turn a Marcel Sabitzer shot wide.

The atmosphere was wild, both sets of supporters engaged in a mass bounce-off at either end of Wembley.

Vinicius was lucky to escape a second yellow for a dive, with Nico Schlotterbeck instead cautioned from Slovenia referee Slavko Vincic for his reaction.

Sabitzer also picked up a booking but the German side were bossing it, without getting their noses in front – a situation which always feels perilous when you’re playing Real Madrid.

The second half began to the backdrop of a pyro display in the Dortmund end – another Wembley security triumph.

Hummels was controversially penalised for a challenge on Vinicius – who was getting an easy ride from the ref – and Toni Kroos’ free-kick was pushed wide by Kobel.

But Real were still unable to get a grip on the game, with Terzic’s men pinning them back for long periods.

Sancho’s sweeping pass picked out Adeyemi, whose centre was met by a Fullkrug header, Courtois saving again.

Bellingham outshines Sancho on the night of his dreams at Wembley

THE very moment Vinicius Junior struck the second goal, Jude Bellingham sank to his knees, stretched out his arms and looked up at the sky, writes Charlie Wyett.

It was the moment that Bellingham had always dreamed of, to win the Champions League. The fact it came at Wembley, on home soil, made it that little sweeter. Bellingham delivered the pass to Vinicius who scored to ensure that Real Madrid, remarkably, have now been the kings of Europe on 15 occasions. It was the final kick of the biggest game in Bellingham’s life as he was immediately replaced by Joselu in a tactical switch by Carlo Ancelotti. With no Premier League teams involved, this was an English duel between Bellingham and Jadon Sancho. The west midlands v south London. Stourbridge versus Kennington. It is obvious which of the two former team-mates won this scrap, although Sancho’s team should have put Real out of sight by half-time. Ultimately, neither Englishmen had particularly dazzling games.Sancho, on loan from Manchester United, started brightly and gave Real left-back Ferland Mendy a few uneasy moments. Yet this was nothing like the performances he delivered against PSG to help his team to the final. Instead, with three minutes remaining of normal time, Sancho was replaced by another Englishman, teenager Jamie Bynoe-Gittens. There was to be no drama. Bellingham added this Euro title to his La Liga winner’s medal. Not forgetting he has also been voted as the La Liga player of the year. Bellingham, featuring in his 42nd game of the season for Real, was unable to make much of an impact in his role wide left. On the hour mark, he had touched the ball 35 times but had done little with it. With the scores at 0-0, he somehow failed to score with a header when he was unable to make contact with a cross from Vinicius. Any touch and it would have been a goal. By then, the keyboard warriors were out in force on social media, dishing out some laughable criticism of England’s greatest talent. Potentially, our greatest ever player. Yet the inevitable happened and Dortmund were left to curse those missed chances. A mistake by Sancho led to a Madrid corner and Dani Carvajal leapt highest to head them into the lead. Bellingham had another chance but it was deflected wide by Nico Schlotterbeck. But, with seven minutes left, he helped stick the knife in to help Vinicius score and ensure this is an evening he will never forget.In the crowd were his dad Mark, mum Denise and brother Jobe, who got into the stadium five hours early. Bellingham’s mum was in tears as her son stepped up to get his medal. And let’s all hope Bellingham will be lifting another trophy in Berlin on July 14.

Ancelotti moved Bellingham into a deep-lying false nine role and the England man was soon on the end of a Vinicius centre but could not connect and was flagged offside.

Marco Reus was sent on by Terzic for his swansong appearance but Vinicius was starting to purr – executing a delicious nutmeg on Julian Ryderson to force a corner.

From the next corner, Real were in front. Kroos delivered to the near post and Carvajal leapt to score with a glancing header, Hummels unable to block it on the line.

It was classic Real – second-best for so long but always finding a way.

Bellingham then squandered an outstanding chance to wrap it up, stabbing wide when he should have buried a Camavinga cut-back.

But soon he was teeing up Vinicius, who scored with an angled drive which Kobel got a hand to.

Fullkrug had a late effort ruled out for offside but while Real had arrived late to the party, they had left their best to last.

—Source: Sun Football 



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