No matter how dangerous the situation seems, no matter how unlikely victory seems, the team in white always seems to find a way to win.
However, the night was sadly marred by security issues outside the stadium, resulting in fans climbing over goals and others being tear-gassed in scenes that will be talked about for days to come.
It wasn’t pretty for much of the game; White shirts, it seemed, were constantly strewn across the penalty area as they desperately tried to ward off wave after wave of Liverpool attacks.
Chances were few and far between for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but they just needed one. Vinicius Junior appeared unmarked at the far post on the hour to save a low cross from Federico Valverde to secure a 1-0 win and Real’s 14th European title.
Real Madrid defender Nacho described what his team had achieved in the Champions League knockout stages as “magical” and many questioned whether these unlikely escapes were possible outside the Bernabeu.
But doubt Real at your own risk. This team always has another trick up their sleeve.
When the final whistle blew, Real’s bench exploded and emptied onto the pitch. Excited, some players fell to the ground and others ran to share the moment with their fans.
It’s been another night of trials and tribulations for Real in this season’s Champions League, but there’s little anyone can do – even this remarkable Liverpool side – when Los Blancos apparently have a date with destiny.
Ancelotti summed it up perhaps as well as one could wish. “This club is special,” he said.
Ugly scenes before the game
Real Madrid fans had almost filled their part of the stadium more than an hour before kick-off, giving their players a thunderous welcome as they emerged from the tunnel to warm up.
It took a little longer for the Liverpool supporters to get into the ground, but those who had taken their seats serenaded the men in red with a roaring rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ as the warm-up ended went.
The atmosphere created by both fans was sparkling and there was an electricity in the air reserved only for such occasions.
However, kick-off was delayed by more than 35 minutes due to unsavory scenes outside the stadium, with many fans being barred and tear gas used by the authorities.
Some people were seen climbing over the closed gates to make their way into the ground when a dangerous choke point formed around a certain entry point.
The governing body of European football, UEFA, released a statement saying: “The turnstiles at the Liverpool end were blocked by thousands of fans who had bought counterfeit tickets that didn’t work in the turnstiles.”
It added: “As the numbers outside the stadium continued to build up after kick-off, the police dispersed them with tear gas and forced them out of the stadium.”
“UEFA expresses its sympathy for those affected by these events and will urgently investigate this matter further together with the French police and authorities, as well as the French Football Federation.”
A spokesman for the Paris Police Prefecture said: “People without tickets broke through the barriers and tried to get into the stadium to watch the game. These attempts triggered mass movements.”
However, many fans with tickets say they were prevented from entering the stadium in crowded areas.
In a statement, Liverpool said they were “very disappointed” by the problems outside the stadium and called for a formal investigation.
“I haven’t been able to speak to my family yet, but I know the families had a lot of trouble getting into the stadium,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp after the game.
“I heard a few things that weren’t good, it was obviously quite difficult out there, but I don’t know more about that.”
The length of the delay meant teams had to resurface for a second warm-up before the game had started.
With both fan groups preparing for the original local kick-off time of 21:00 – and only receiving an update at the stadium fifteen minutes later – there was a palpable tension in the air and much confused conversation between fans.
But the appearance of FIFA President Gianni Infantino on the big screen woke the fans from their slumber as he was met with loud boos and jeers from across the stadium.
When singer Camila Cabello finally started the pre-game conversation almost half an hour after kick-off, supporters from both sides took turns drowning out her chants, which were barely heard over Real’s “Ole, Ole, Ole”. and Liverpool’s Allez, Allez, Allez.’
The delay clearly affected the players as both teams struggled to find any rhythm in the early stages. Passes strayed, clearances skewed, and both sides struggled to penetrate enemy territory.
When the first chance finally came after more than 15 minutes, it was thanks to the fine individual work of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who weaved past two Real defenders before drilling a low cross into the box.
Mo Salah was there to take it but it came a little awkwardly to his feet and Thibaut Courtois was a match for it. Salah’s second chance came shortly after, but it went straight to the Real goalkeeper.
It was the first time both sides managed to put consistent pressure on the other and Liverpool fans were soon groaning again as Alexander-Arnold shot high over the bar when he was well placed in the box.
After more than five minutes of uninterrupted waves of red shirts beating Real’s defence, Sadio Mane thought he had found the first set only for Courtois, improbably, to get a hand on his shot and smash it against the post.
It’s a testament to how remarkable the parade was that most of the Liverpool fans at the other end of the stadium had already started to celebrate in anticipation of the lapping net.
At that point, almost 30 minutes later, the best Real could muster was an overhit cross from Vinicius that for a split second looked ready to cause problems for Alisson in the Liverpool goal.
A clear pattern was emerging now; Those in white were crammed into their own half, shaken and unable to escape the Liverpool onslaught.
Real fans continued to sing and wave their flags and scarves to breathe life into their struggling team. They had the best seats in the house to witness Liverpool’s near-perfect first half but luckily the only thing they hadn’t seen up close was a goal.
Then, out of nowhere, it looked like Carlo Ancelotti’s side had taken the lead completely against the flow of play. After the ball ricocheted around the box, Benzema lunged to put the ball in under Alisson, only to see his goal immediately ruled out by the linesman’s flag.
What initially looked like a simple offside decision ended up taking what felt like an eternity to be confirmed as VAR officials struggled to decide if the first ball fell from a Liverpool player.
After a nerve-wracking wait, it was finally the Reds who celebrated exuberantly when the offside decision was confirmed. It was a suitably exciting end to an exciting first half.
It was familiar with the way the second half was beginning to unfold as Liverpool kept up the pressure on a Real side that seemed to be sinking quickly under the weight of the event.
It was an odd sight. After all, this is a team that has made its mark in this competition, constantly rewriting the record books and accomplishing the seemingly impossible.
Then came the gate. It was against the flow of play, yes Liverpool appeared to be the only team that would score in the first hour but in truth that goal still felt inevitable. It always happens when Real Madrid play.
Valverde found himself on the right side of space and drilled a teasing low pass over the goal while Vinicius was there at the far post to tap the ball into an empty net.
Cue chaos. The concrete staircase at the Stade de France began to tremble as the celebrations of Real fans lasted almost five minutes. Numerous flares were fired as that end of the stadium began to glow red and smoke filled the cool Parisian air.
Salah did his best to equalize for Liverpool, cutting inside and deflecting a wonderful shot towards the far post, but Courtois was again able to parry it with full force.
Courtois saves Madrid
Vinicius is praised for his winning goal, but when the dust settles there will be talk of Courtois’ performance as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time in a Champions League final.
As the clock ran out, he again held Salah at bay, this time flicking the ball for the corner as the Egyptian’s shot sped into the far post.
“When the goalkeeper is man of the match, something goes wrong with the other team. We could have done better in the last third,” said Klopp after the game.
With every missed opportunity, the inevitability of a Madrid victory grew. Real fans felt it; so does Liverpool.
Although Klopp’s side kept pushing until the end, the celebrations for the Madrid fans had already begun. The burst of joy when the full-time whistle blew was largely tinged with relief – these fans know what an ordeal that night was.
Real Madrid shouldn’t have made it this far. Three times during the campaign he had defeat written all over his face and three times he somehow came out the other side.
But once it reached Paris, perhaps there should have been no doubt that this would be the end result.