Real Madrid deserve every accolade after a consummate performance in the Champions League Final. In the second half, Zinedine Zidane's men were spectacular, playing with the assured, confident swagger of a team who knows what it takes to win European football's biggest prize.
The Spanish giants - and Cristiano Ronaldo in particular - thrive in these moments, but Juventus once again came up short when the spotlight shone brightest. For the opening 45 minutes it seemed as if this time would be different, the Bianconeri going toe-to-toe with their opponents and arguably getting the better of them.
But after the break it was that old familiar tale for Juve, so near and yet so far from glory. The defeat was the club's fifth consecutive loss in the Final of this competition, and sadly it had more in common with their 1997 and 2015 showings. Just like in those years when Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona took home the trophy, the Old Lady found herself out-played and out-gunned, with too many players failing to deliver.
Appearing in UEFA's showpiece event for the first time, Alex Sandro, Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic will perhaps learn valuable lessons from the experience, but some of their older team-mates should have done more to help them. Sami Khedira and Gonzalo Higuain were invisible in the second half, while Giorgio Chiellini was guilty of inexplicably leaving Ronaldo unmarked on both his goals.
Perhaps only Mario Mandzukic - whose spectacular goal offered the Bianconeri genuine hope - can reflect on a good performance, but given his thirst for victory it is unlikely that he will take any solace from his individual effort.
No, this was a collective failure, and now is not the time for mealy-mouthed discussions about how it will help the team to grow in the future. Instead it is a moment for Juventus and her fans to recognise the gap that still exists between themselves and the continent's truly elite sides.
It is a gulf that even the €120m outlay on Higuain and Pjanic could not bridge, and the club will head into the summer knowing it must provide Max Allegri with even more quality if they are to enjoy success on this grandest of stages.
"We know that we must do more to lift this trophy," President Andrea Agnelli said shortly after the final whistle and he is absolutely right. It did not feel like it on Saturday night in Cardiff, but Juventus are close and they must now dust themselves down and prepare to once again take on the ultimate challenge.
It will take increased effort from every player, increased investment from the club, and even increased belief from the fans who support them every week. They have made history in domestic competitions and deserve to be lauded for those accomplishments, but if this is to be considered a team for the ages, nothing but victory in the Champions League will suffice.
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