Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard believes that Angel Di Maria was the Man of the Match in the Champions League final last night.
Gerrard, speaking on ITV post-match as Real Madrid celebrated winning the Champions League, claimed that the Argentine was the best player on the pitch.
Diego Godin gave Atletico the lead in the first half with a looping header that Iker Casillas misjudged but could do nothing about. But Sergio Ramos scored the most dramatic of equaliser with just a couple of minutes left of injury time, forcing the game into extra time.
It was then that Di Maria played the biggest role he had all night, hurtling into the Atletico penalty area and shooting, but Thibaut Courtois palmed it to the back post where Gareth Bale was waiting to sew it up. Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo added two more late goals but it was the Argentine that impressed most people.
“Real Madrid are littered with top quality players,” said Gerrard. “We spoke a lot about [Gareth] Bale and [Cristiano] Ronaldo. [Karim] Benzema was very quiet but [Angel] Di Maria was relentless all game; he never gave up, he kept attacking his full-back all the time, kept putting dangerous crosses in the box and, for me, he was Man of the Match.”
Lee Dixon, also a pundit for ITV, agreed with Gerrard, citing the focus on Ronaldo and Bale the reason for Di Maria’s fantastic display.
Dixon said: “I think Atletico played the big players really well in the first half but that gave di Maria a little bit more space and he was the one who ball and stretched Atletico as the game went on and they got tired.”
Sergio Ramos’ goal was Real Madrid’s only shot on target inside the penalty area before extra-time.