Buffon hails Madrid class after final heartbreak

Gareth Bale lifts the Champions League trophy after Real Madrid beat Juventus in Cardiff

We won Serie A and the Coppa Italia and reached the Champions League final.

Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon magnanimously conceded Real Madrid's superior ability had made the difference after his side crashed to a 4-1 defeat in Saturday's Champions League final in Cardiff.

Against Juventus he denied Miralem Pjanic well early on but might have done better to keep out Mario Mandzukic's spectacular bicycle kick equaliser.

It's clear that the former United star still has plenty of respect and admiration for his former coach, as he even still acknowledges him as "boss" to this day...

"The players have entered into the legend of Real Madrid and of football, as has our coach", said club president Florentino Perez, as he reserved special praise for Zinedine Zidane.

"It's a long season, but I'm motivated, I'm happy".

Bale's injury woes this season - and the impressive displays of Spanish playmaker Isco in his absence - have led to suggestions that the Wales striker could return to the Premier League this summer.

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Zidane managed the Spanish club to a second successive Champions League crown with a commanding 4-1 win over Juventus on Saturday, adding to triumphs in the Spanish league, the Club World Cup, and the European Super Cup. I'm a happy man to win the 12th and we'll enjoy this moment now. They came away as losers for the seventh time in nine European Cup finals having also lost to Barcelona in 2015. He made sure we were a team, that we all contributed.

The former France playmaker's contract expires in a year, but he said he was not thinking about leaving.

"The squad has been great and it's been good for me individually, too". It didn't seem like I was going to make it to the final but I've worked tirelessly at home and it's the reward you get for all the hard work you've put in.

Leonardo Bonucci's raking pass was volleyed into the box by Alex Sandro and Gonzalo Higuain kept the ball airborne for Mandzukic to chest it up and send a looping volley over Keylor Navas.

The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Andrea Belotti, Eric Dier, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Willian and Bale are all on Mourinho's hit-list, but he will not get all of them.

It is a trophy that matters little to either team until they win it and, as we discovered with Mourinho and Community Shield, they all count at the end of the season.

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