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Thursday 19 October 2017

Ronaldo - 'I feel as young as ever'

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after Real's victory over Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final. Photo: PA
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after Real's victory over Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final. Photo: PA

Cristiano Ronaldo says he feels as young as ever after guiding Real Madrid to a record 12th triumph in European football's premier competition.

Ronaldo scored twice in the 4-1 victory over Juventus in Cardiff as Real became the first side to retain the Champions League trophy in the modern era.

It was Ronaldo's fourth Champions League title - three for Real and one at Manchester United - and his double took him to 600 career goals for club and country.

"My age is just a number, I feel like a young boy," 32-year-old Ronaldo said after being handed the man-of-the-match award by his former United manager Alex Ferguson.

"I am very happy - an amazing season again. We've won trophies and of course it is one of the best moments of my career - I have the opportunity to say this every year but it's true!

"This season was amazing again, last season was amazing.

"I have two or three days to rest now then I have a qualifying game for Portugal.

"Then we have Confederations Cup (in Russia). It is a long season but I am motivated. I am happy, these are good moments."

Ronaldo's double gave him 42 Real goals this season, spearheading the Spanish giants' first LaLiga and European Cup double since 1957-58.

His display also made the Madrid fans who have previously whistled him look all the more absurd.

Criticism

"It's not the moment to speak about that," he said when asked about such criticism. "I speak already a few times about that.

"The most important (thing) is that I again had an amazing season, me and my team-mates have done the double.

"I think people don't have words to criticise because the numbers don't lie, you know?"

Team-mate Luka Modric believes Real are set to dominate European football for some time yet.

"It is something special we are doing at the moment and we need to keep going because this moment will not last forever," Modric said. "I think we feel that we are an amazing team.

"We need to just keep doing what we are doing, because I think we can win many more titles in the future.

"We are at good ages, we have young players that are coming and have a lot of quality. This is only a positive thing for the team."

Mario Mandzukic's stunning strike cancelled out Ronaldo's 20th-minute opener for Juventus to reach the break at 1-1.

But goals from Casemiro, Ronaldo's second and substitute Marco Asensio rewarded an outstanding second-half effort from Real.

Manager Zinedine Zidane praised his players after becoming the first manager to retain the European title since Arrigo Sacchi accomplished the feat with AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.

"Nobody has won two Champions League twice in a row and we did it," Zidane said.

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