Champions League: Joy on the streets of Madrid and in the Bernabeu as Real Madrid celebrate No13

Alex Broun 28/05/2018
Joy for Hala Madrid as Marcello and Ramos hold the trophy aloft.

Thousands of fans lined the streets of the Spanish capital to greet Real Madrid‘s victorious players as they returned home from Kyiv on Sunday with the Champions League cup held aloft by captain Sergio Ramos.

Los Blancos have claimed a remarkable third successive title and 13th time overall.

Fans greeted them on the street, as an open-top bus carrying the squad and the trophy made its way to the club’s traditional celebration spot, the Plaza de Cibeles.

The giant white bus bore the phrase ‘Campeones 13’ and the club’s crest. From there it was on to the Bernabeu where the action really kicked off.

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Loris Karius 'infinitely sorry' for blunders that saw Liverpool crash and burn against Real Madrid

Chris Bailey 27/05/2018
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Loris Karius says he is “infinitely sorry” for the mistakes he made in Liverpool’s Champions League final loss against Real Madrid on Saturday.

The 24-year-old German goalkeeper was in tears at the final whistle in Kiev after the Reds’ 3-1 defeat to Real.

The Spanish side’s first goal came when Karim Benzema charged down an attempted throw-out by Karius, and the goalkeeper then allowed a long-range Gareth Bale shot to slip through his grasp for the third.

Karius tweeted on Sunday afternoon: “Haven’t really slept until now… the scenes are still running through my head again and again… I’m infinitely sorry to my teammates, for you fans, and for all the staff. I know that I messed it up with the two mistakes and let you all down…

“As I said I’d just like to turn back the time but that’s not possible. It’s even worse as we all felt that we could have beaten Real Madrid and we were in the game for a long time…

“Thank you to our unbelievable fans who came to Kiev and held my back, even after the game. I don’t take that for granted and once again it showed me what a big family we are. Thank you and we will come back stronger.”

Karius had earlier told talkSPORT: “I lost my team the game.

“I’m sorry for everyone – from the team, from the whole club – that the mistakes cost dearly.

“If I could go back in time, I would. I feel sorry for my team. I know I let them down.

“It’s very hard right now but that’s the life of a goalkeeper. These goals cost us the title, basically.”

Former Reds goalkeeper Ray Clemence said Karius would have to live with his mistakes “for the rest of his life”.

Clemence, who was in goal for Liverpool’s first three European Cup wins including the 1-0 victory over Real in 1981, told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme: “He’s made two horrendous errors at vital times in the game and he has to live with that.

“He’s got the whole summer to think about it and when you make mistakes in massive games like that they will be with you for the rest of your life, because people will remember them and keep reminding you of them.”

KIEV, UKRAINE - MAY 26:  Loris Karius of Liverpool watches the ball cross the line as he concedes for the third time during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Liverpool at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on May 26, 2018 in Kiev, Ukraine.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Karius will benefit from the post-season break as he seeks to come to terms with his errors, according to leading psychologist Professor Cary Cooper.

Cooper, professor of psychology and health at Manchester Business School, said: “The only way he can get over this is by putting it behind him and carrying

“He made a couple of big mistakes but he has got to see that as irrelevant now, otherwise his career’s over.

“It is all about the bounce-back factor. The really successful people in sport as in business are the ones with the biggest bounce-back factor, because everybody makes mistakes along the way.

“I’m not saying this won’t adversely affect his self-confidence for a little while, but he is fortunate there is a gap now before he has to play again, and he can come back with a clean slate.”

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No room for Barcelona's Lionel Messi in UCL team of season but three Liverpool stars feature

Chris Bailey 27/05/2018
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Real Madrid were crowned European champions for the third successive year.

The dust may still be settling from Gareth Bale’s almighty bicycle kick in Kiev on Saturday, but it’s time to take stock of another spectacular season of Champions League football.

The Welsh wonder does not make our team of the season – though, much like with Real Madrid, he’s probably worth a spot on the bench – as there are 11 more consistent performers to celebrate.

Sadly for Barcelona fans, not even Lionel Messi could crack the side this year…

GK: Alisson – Roma

Rumours are that Liverpool are desperate to fill the hole that swallowed Loris Karius in Kiev on Saturday night with the Roma shot-stopper. They can’t expect a Mohamed Salah-style bargain this time.

Brazil’s No1 faced a tournament-high 62 shots and made a tournament-high 45 saves – 10 clear of the nearest man in Roma’s run to the semi-finals. The archetypal modern sweeper-keeper.

RB: Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich

Such is the conveyor belt at Bayern, and indeed in Germany, that Kimmich has stepped into Philipp Lahm’s role as the do-it-all full-back without missing so much as a beat.

Another stellar season has seen him add four assists and three goals to his burgeoning Champions League CV, including the strike that gave Bayern a glimmer of hope against Real. At 23 he’s got another decade or so left to give.

CB: Clement Lenglet – Sevilla

Sevilla today, gone tomorrow – Lenglet is seemingly on the verge of joining Barcelona. And with good reason.

Though Manchester United, under the auspices of Jose Mourinho, are hardly attacking titans, the 22-year-old came of age with his epic smothering of Romelu Lukaku and Co. He put Robert Lewandowski in a head lock, too, before Bayern squeaked through to the semis.

CB: Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid

Love him or loathe him – a whole country in Egypt does after Saturday night – Ramos’ marries dark arts and top-notch defending in an unholy union. No manager in the world would take the moral high ground over excluding him from his side.

Mohamed Salah may disagree, but in an era where there are so few strong characters, a little rough-and-tumble should be appreciated.

Sergio Ramos 1
LB: David Alaba – Bayern Munich

It’s hard, and perhaps harsh, to overlook Marcelo here but for all his explosive attacking output he has too many moments of sheer madness at the other end of the pitch.

Enter Alaba, who would be considered the left-back par excellence if he was not sequestered in the hinterlands of Bundesliga – and Austria – for much of the year.

Just look at how Bayern suffered when Alaba was ruled out – Rafinha’s horrendous mistake giving Real a first-leg advantage in the semis.

RM: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool

The name that should be chiselled into the line-up. Salah’s sorry end does nothing to mar an incredible season as the Egyptian King surpassed expectation and then the realms of belief.

His heady campaign brought him 10 goals in Europe, including two in the slaying of Manchester City, and it’s fair to say the palpable nervousness in Real’s defence dissipated as soon as Ramos hauled Salah to the ground and he trudged off in tears.

CM: Ever Banega – Sevilla

Sevilla’s unlikely march to the quarter-finals, where they gave Bayern a scare, was orchestrated by the subtle talents of Banega.

For all their consistency in la Liga, Banega applied enough glue in midfield to take them far in Europe and was the main reason why their possession share through all games combined – 55.6 per cent – surpassed Man United and Paris Saint-Germain. He made a jaw-dropping 10 chances in the first leg against United, too.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City

The only player in the Premier League who even ran the peerless Salah close for Player of the Season took his abundance of talent onto the European stage.

The Belgian’s raking passes, and through balls delivered on the ground so sweetly as if the surface is made of felt, were one of football’s greatest sights this season – and he supplied four assists in the Champions League.

LM: Sadio Mane – Liverpool

Mane’s strike in Kiev created one piece of history, at least – Liverpool became the first team in UCL history to see three players reach double figures, alongside Salah and Firmino, in a season.

The Senegal forward’s campaign had been hindered early on by injury, but you can’t knock him for crucial strikes against Man City, Roma – despite his profligacy in front of goal – and Real Madrid.

ST: Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid

How dare Bale take away all the attention from the main man on Saturday night – and truth be told, Ronaldo’s record in UCL finals leaves a lot to be desired considering he’s managed to win a record-setting five.

There’s no man in history who can get a side into the main event more efficiently, however, as his 15 strikes in the competition – the ‘Bale-esque’ effort against Juventus a highlight – was another phenomenal achievement.


ST: Roberto Firmino – Liverpool

No10s are still in fashion in European football but Firmino covers so much ground that Liverpool don’t need to play with that type of luxury.

He should be mediating peace talks in war zones such are his link-up powers – and now he’s added a surfeit of goals to his game, while supplying Salah with a boatload more, there is simply no striker quite like the Brazilian.
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