REAL MADRID secured their 14th European title with a 1-0 win against treble-tracked rivals Liverpool in Paris.
Vinicius Jr scored the winning goal and swept the ball home at the back post.
The Brazilian had right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold’s number all night.
His direct run stretched the Reds.
But there were other important clashes elsewhere on the pitch, between some of the world’s best defenders, attackers and midfielders.
SunSport’s Rob Maul breaks down key battles in Paris
Trent Alexander Arnold vs Vinicius Junior
Trent Alexander-Arnold had a torrid evening last time out against Brazilian Vinicius Junior, who scored twice as Real Madrid beat Liverpool in last season’s quarter-finals.
A lack of concentration was enough this time, and the lightning-fast left winger from Madrid won the decisive duel again.
Right-back Alexander-Arnold didn’t even look over his shoulder as Federico Valverde whipped the ball over the goal and poacher Vinicius was at the back post to stab the winner.
Virgil van Dijk versus Karim Benzema
Virgil van Dijk, the £75million Dutch defender, held his own perfectly, keeping French goalscorer Karim Benzema quiet throughout this competition.
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Benzema, 34, has been the talisman for Madrid’s epic comebacks this season but has failed to add to his 15-goal tally.
However, there was a moment just before half-time when Madrid’s top scorer deftly dodged the otherwise rigid Liverpool defense and thought he had broken the deadlock.
But after an uncharacteristic Liverpool defensive error, the Los Blancos frontman was sidelined – even after a lengthy VAR review.
Thiago Alcantara vs Luka Modric
It’s hard to find two better passers in European football than this pair, but they almost seemed to cancel each other out in the crucial midfield battle.
Thiago Alcantara, 31, was doubtful with a sore Achilles tendon before the game and while he wasn’t lacking in fitness he lacked the same zip.
Luka Modric wasn’t at his best here – England fans saw that at the 2018 World Cup – but the 36-year-old could still perform as Madrid’s lynchpin.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/5444146/key-battles-champions-league-final-real-madrid-liverpool/ Three key fights that won and lost the Champions League final including Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Vinicius Jr