Jude Bellingham savours 'best night of my life' after Real Madrid win Champions League

England midfielder helps Spanish giants win 15th European Cup with 2-0 win over former club Dortmund

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Jude Bellingham described Real Madrid's Champions League triumph over former club Borussia Dortmund on Saturday as "the best night of my life" as the midfielder concluded a remarkably successful debut season in Spain.

Bellingham, recruited from Dortmund last summer for an initial €103 million, has set the football world alight during his first campaign at Real Madrid and played a pivotal role in their 2-0 victory at Wembley Stadium. The England midfielder assisted Vinicius Junior for the second goal in the 83rd minute after Dani Carvajal broke the deadlock nine minutes earlier.

In helping Real Madrid win their record-extending 15th European Cup, Bellingham has completed a club season that also saw the 20-year-old named La Liga Player of the Year; his 19 league goals – including a brace and late winner at rivals Barcelona – were vital to Real's title-winning campaign.

In his first Champions League final on Saturday, Bellingham received a standing ovation from the Spanish team's fans when he was subbed off late in the game at Wembley. They serenaded him with a version of “Hey Jude", and he is fast becoming the face of the team even as reports indicate France star Kylian Mbappe is on his way to the Bernabeu next season.

"I can’t have dreamed it much better than this,” Bellingham told TNT Sports on the field moments after the final whistle.

He credited veterans Luka Modric and Toni Kroos — multiple Champions League winners — with giving him a boost of confidence. For Kroos, it was the final club game of his illustrious career and a fitting farewell to a modern giant of the game.

“They were a big part of my feeling before the game to be fair,” Bellingham said. “When I was alone in my room I was thinking to myself and not as confident but you come down to dinner and they are playing cards, chatting, looking relaxed. Then you start to feel relaxed and settle into it.

"Champions of Europe, can’t get any better than that. They always said to me to enjoy the first one.”

Real will retain the same 'desire' - Ancelotti

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said his team would be back for more silverware with the same hunger next season.

"Here there's no danger of our stomachs being too full... tomorrow this club will enjoy another fantastic day with our fans, then to rest, the players will go to the Euros, the Copa America, then we will return with the same desire and hope as ever," Ancelotti said.

The Italian lifted the trophy for a record-extending fifth time as a manager and his players jubilantly tossed him into the air during the celebrations.

"This competition gave me fantastic happiness, as a player, as a manager," said Ancelotti, who turns 65 on June 10. "My target is to try to repeat the same emotion that we (have) the week after this game, this is the target. I have the luck to be at the best club in the world."

Ancelotti rated the team's performance this season as "10 out of 10" after severe injuries to several key players including David Alaba, Eder Militao and Thibaut Courtois, the latter of whom started the final.

Madrid, who completed a La Liga and Champions League double for the fifth time in their history, are Spain's dominant force.

That advantage may be further increased by the signing of Mbappe at the end of his Paris Saint-Germain deal, a move expected to be announced in the coming days. Madrid will lose German midfield metronome Kroos, retiring from football after Euro 2024.

"What will happen now? Something will happen. We lost an important player, we will have other players to take over," said Ancelotti. "As we have always done, we adapt to the characteristics of the players that we have, to be competitive."

Dortmund had 'fantastic journey' - Terzic

Borussia Dortmund paid the ultimate price for failing to take their chances against an incredible Real Madrid side, the Bundesliga club's coach Edin Terzic said.

"We didn't show the efficiency to score," a downcast Terzic told reporters. "This is something we have to learn from."

Dortmund, who finished fifth in the Bundesliga this season, reached their first Champions League final since 2013 when Wembley also hosted their defeat by Bayern Munich. They gave their all on the night, as did their supporters.

"I am proud, that is the first thought, a proud moment," Terzic said. "We brought nearly 100,000 people to London and everybody had the belief we could make it. It was a fantastic journey this year in the Champions League - a great campaign - but to be honest it is a little empty inside. It was a great opportunity to win it and we unfortunately didn't make it."

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke could not hide his disappointment.

"We did it well, should have taken the lead in the first half but then we got a bit tired and they were ice cold how they scored," he said.

"We knew what we can do. We are happy to have been here but when you dominate the game and have these chances and then lose then it is very disappointing."

Dortmund defender Mats Hummels agreed.

"We had four chances and we should have scored one of them. We had so many chances and you just have to score," he said.

"At the end of the day we should have defended a little better with their goals. But there is no one to blame for that. We played a good game."

Terzic tried to stay positive for the Dortmund fans.

"Thank you for your belief, don’t let the doubt take over," he said. "We’re going to bounce back, we’re going to learn from this.

Updated: June 02, 2024, 6:25 AM