Champions League final: Ronaldo ‘had feeling’ he would score winner

Real Madrid’s striker told Zinedane Zidane to give him the fifth penalty in the victory that Gabi said left Atlético ‘destroyed’

The whistle blew but it was not over yet. Exhausted players lay on the San Siro turf, socks pulled down their calves and cramp climbing up, Gareth Bale speaking for most in admitting he could hardly feel his legs. More than 120 minutes played, a handful left: the 2016 European Cup final was heading to penalties, all or nothing from 12 yards, one last effort required, mentally and physically.

Bale gets a massage, Diego Simeone and Zinedine Zidane talk to their players. A coin is tossed, a decision made: Atlético choose to take the second penalty, which pleases the Real players who know statistics suggest that suits them. So they go first; they also chose an end, their end. Cristiano Ronaldo sits a little apart, on a plastic drinks trolley, thinking. He has “a feeling”. He pulls his manager aside and tells him: “Give me the fifth.” He knows what awaits. One of the staff helps him to his feet; it is time.

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