3 Talking Points From 2021/22 Champions League Season
Real Madrid claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the 2021/22 Champions League grand final to cap off an impressive season in style.
Despite finding themselves on the back foot for most of the game, Los Merengues achieved a record-extending 14th Champions League triumph, courtesy of Vinicius Junior's title-winning strike.
Coming into the 2021/22 campaign, the Spaniards were outside favourites to win the competition, but Carlo Ancelotti's ageing squad defied the odds to re-establish themselves as the continent's supreme power.
Let's take a look at the three talking points from another enthralling Champions League season.
#3 Money cannot buy success
Not many sides in European football have splurged such figures on reinforcing their squads as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain over the past decade.
Despite acquiring the services of the world's finest talents, none of them have yet to claim the coveted Champions League crown.
PSG boast the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, but they still failed to cope with Madrid's veterans in the first knock-out round.
Man City, led by Pep Guardiola, succumbed to the same opposition in the semi-finals, even though they were ahead until the final moments of their mouth-watering tie.
#2 Carlo Ancelotti stands alone in the pantheon of managerial greats
After a couple of underwhelming stints at Napoli and Everton, Ancelotti returned to Madrid in summer 2021 with relatively modest expectations.
However, the 62-year-old once again proved his doubters wrong as he navigated Los Blancos to their first Champions League success in the post-Cristiano Ronaldo era.
It was, in fact, Ancelotti's fourth Champions League triumph as a manager, setting an unprecedented feat in the competition's history.
The Italian manager has now gone alone at the top of the Champions League charts, leaving the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Bob Parsley behind at three.
#1 Karim Benzema is unstoppable
For years, Karim Benzema was forced to live in the shadows of Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
But once he's got the opportunity to showcase his class, the Frenchman embraced it with open arms.
At 34, many would assume he could not compete at the highest level, yet the ever-present Madrid striker produced a jaw-dropping continental campaign.
With 15 goals under his belt, including a record-equalling ten in the competition's knock-outs, Benzema soaked up the limelight as the competition's standout performer.
His successive hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the last-16 and quarter-finals, respectively, paved the way for Los Merengues' memorable triumph.