Mario Mandzukic: Juventus v Real Madrid 2017

£15.00

Words from Richard Buxton.

Brian Clough once said, 'If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he'd have put grass up there.' Even Old Big 'Ead would have conceded there a notable exceptions to this rule. Mario Mandzukic's strike in the 2017 Champions League Final is a prime example. History seldom remembers its losers but Juventus should go down as one of its more memorable for that seminal moment at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Trailing to a well-worked Cristiano Ronaldo opener, the Serie A champions went in search of an equaliser and reaped an exquisite reward inside 10 minutes. From the moment Leonardo Bonucci floated a cross-field ball to Alex Sandro, the Welsh capital found itself transported to footballing heaven for eight seconds. The Brazilian's volley to Gonzalo Higuain was as flawless as his teammate's chest and lay-off to Mandzukic. What followed was the finest finish Europe's elite club competition has witnessed since Zinedine Zidane's volley at Hampden Park. Confronted by the lurking threat in both Dani Carvajal and Casemiro, Mandzukic took it on his chest, turned his back to goal and proceeded to take flight. An over-the-shoulder volley from the Croatia international's prolific right foot cleared the advancing Real duo as well as Keylor Navas' overreaching hand.

Richard Buxton is a freelance football journalist covering Premier League and beyond. Follow his football coverage here:

twitter.com/RichardBuxton_

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