CARDIFF (Reuters) - Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos showed the best and worst of his game in the Champions League final on Saturday, finishing it by holding the trophy aloft minutes after his simulation led to a red card for Juventus substitute Juan Cuadrado.
Real captain Ramos had been booked in the first half and risked getting sent off for the 23rd time in his career with a wild lunge on Cuadrado in the 86th minute.
When the Juventus winger came over to complain about the challenge, making the slightest of contacts with Ramos’s back, the Spaniard threw himself to the floor, earning the Colombian a second yellow card instead.
While Cuadrado contemplated becoming the first substitute to get sent off in a Champions League final after earning two bookings inside 18 minutes, Ramos took centre stage in the trophy presentation, lifting the huge cup as his team celebrated becoming the first to successfully defend the title since 1990.
Ramos had made his mark in his previous two finals for the right reasons, heading in the 93rd-minute equaliser in 2014 against Atletico Madrid to save Madrid’s skin and set up their 10th European triumph.
He headed in the first in 2016 against Atletico and again came to his side’s rescue with a cynical challenge on Antoine Griezmann to halt a late counter-attack when the game was poised 1-1, later converting his penalty in the shootout win.
Editing by Ed Osmond