The Champions League final was finely poised at 1-1 as Juventus and Real Madrid reemerged for the second half.
But that will be forgotten after the carnage Madrid wreaked in the final 45 minutes.
Two goals in four minutes from Casemiro and Cristiano Ronaldo, who added to his earlier strike, left Juventus facing their second final defeat in three years and the game was over when Marco Asensio made it 4-1 in the 90th minute.
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It was a devastating end for Juve, especially considering how well they performed in the first half. But they were simply no match for Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane’s tactics which, according to Luka Modric, resulted in three of Real’s goals.
"Zidane and his staff detected Juventus' defensive weakness, so throughout the week, in preparation for the final, we practiced return passes," Modric told HTV and Sportske Novosti, per the Mirror.
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"Juventus' defence is great when it comes to crosses, but not so on low return passes. That is what we worked on and that is how we scored three of our goals in the final.
“Congratulations to the coach for that detail, which was the key in the final."
Zidane's impressive C.V.
It’s hard to value Zidane as a manager considering he has been the manager of a senior side for less than two years. But in that short time, he’s won the La Liga title, something no Madrid manager had done since 2012, and lifted the Champions League twice.
So it wouldn’t be going overboard to suggest he ranks among the top five managers in Europe.
Analysis of Zidane's tactics
A YouTuber has analysed the Frenchman's tactical changes in the final and it makes for impressive viewing.
TheNextManager explores how Juventus were able to force Madrid to attack down one side of the pitch in the first half by pressing aggressively when Juve were defending their right flank.
Madrid weren’t as successful at doing this, allowing Max Allegri’s side to exploit plenty of space.
It also shows how Isco kept dropping deep in the first half, meaning there was nobody to play in between the lines. As a result, Real found it difficult to create many good opportunities.
But Zidane made three tactical changes at half-time, as explored in the video. Isco began to play closer to Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos started marking Sami Khedira and Madrid were able to exploit the gaps behind Juve’s defence.
Allegri was unable to respond. The goals came, Juan Cuadrado was sent off and Madrid lifted their 12th European Cup.
Check out TheNextManager’s incredible analysis below.
Where would you rank Zinedine Zidane among Europe's best managers? Let us know in the comments section below!
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