A huge Thibaut Courtois in the bow and a Punctual Vinicius Jr. could explain -if the term fits- the miracle of the real Madrid at the Stade de France against Liverpool to win the fourteenth Champions and continue to establish itself as the largest in Europe. But the analysis, in these moments of celebration for the title of one of the clubs with the most fans in the world, goes a little further.
The Spanish journalist David de la Peña created a thread on his Twitter account (@david_delapena) to try to explain, based on pure and concrete data, why Madrid defeated Liverpool and won the most incredible and dreamed Champions League in history.
Vinícius’ goal, at 59′, after a shot/cross -it can be debated- by Uruguayan Federico Valverde, and Courtois’s nine saves -record in a Champions League final-, unleashed the madness. He put the seal on an epic campaign after getting rid of the powerful PSG (eighths), Chelsea (quarters) and Manchester City (semi-finals).
“A final super rich in details”, this is how De la Peña cataloged it. Below we will detail four keys, based on their numbers and supported by their analysis, to find an answer to the great debate that has arisen in recent hours: Is Real Madrid a fair champion?
intelligence in possession
Barely 20 minutes into the game and Thibaut Courtois He had already stopped three shots at Liverpool in a huge way: the first two to Mohammed Salahthen Sadio Mane. The scorers of the ‘Reds’ in the Champions League (8 and 5 goals respectively) revealed two things: the first, that the Belgian was the reincarnation of Lev Yashin; and the second, that the English team accentuated their control of the ball.
However, the final data showed that Liverpool (51%) had just a minute and a half more possession than Real (49%): 30:34 over 28:56. The difference, obviously, is in the area: although the ‘Reds’ moved the ball more in the opponent’s area, the Whites reached Allison’s goal a couple of times and scored both times: one goal was disallowed for offside and the other served to raise the ‘Orejona’.
And here comes another key.
Clearances and coverage plus Courtois’s saves
“I told him: Thibaut, I’ll take you to the final and then you win the final”I had told him Carlo Ancelotti a Thibaut Courtois before the match. The Italian, an old fox, with the experience that keeps him in the elite for decades and being the only coach in history to have four Champions Leagues, knew that the Belgian was going to be decisive. Because he trusted his goalkeeper as much as Modric or Benzema, but also because he knew what Liverpool was capable of.
However, the important factor was that Thibaut was not forced to save “free kicks”. That is to say, that the attacker has at least one madridista trying to block his shot. And so it happened.
“The only shot on an empty goal in the entire match was made by Real Madrid. That is to say, they produce what is by far the best chance of the final”, emphasizes De la Peña. If you look back at the match and focus on Courtois’ phenomenal performance, you’ll see that, for example, all five of Mohamed Salah’s shots had one in white there. Even in that play in the 81st minute, in which the Egyptian lowers a long pass from Fabinho with a pillow on his right foot and his shot is deflected by the goalkeeper’s miraculous hands, Ferland Mendy followed him until the last, cutting off the spaces for I can think of some feint.
You always pass them forward
Real Madrid’s midfield lived up to its legend. Casemiro, modric Y Kroosthe trident that has won the last five Champions Leagues, had a colossal performance at the Stade de France.
Despite the territorial superiority imposed by Liverpool, the trio of red midfielders made up of Fabinho-Henderson-Thiago he had just three more precise forward passes than the Whites (54 out of 51). There were more elaboration attempts with rotation of the ball from side to side than direct play.
|Trident||Forward Passes/Accurate||Back/Accurate Passes||Passes to the sides / Accurate|
Vinicius at the right time
the duo Vinicius-Benzema, the one that had so much influence on Real Madrid’s path to reaching the grand final, did not appear against Liverpool. Yes, it is true, the meringues attacked little, they put together cement blocks in front of Courtois and they came out shooting after the recovery. However, the Brazilian was the least sought after.
In fact, not a single attack was crafted by Vini’s gang. He served to vent the exits, but his mischief had no influence. The one who gave Karim the most passes was to Federico Valverde, the Uruguayan SUV who started the goal play. Who finished it? Vinícius, taking advantage of the deconcentration of Trend Alexander-Arnold.
Trying to explain, one hundred percent, the miracle of Real Madrid’s fourteenth Champions League is an exercise as ambiguous as looking for the meaning of the word hierarchy. The former can be summed up in two names (Courtois and Benzema), the latter in one (Real Madrid), but both are somewhat simplistic concepts. The truth is that meringues dominate Europe again.