'Zizou unified the dressing room': Sergio Ramos hails Zidane for Real Madrid's turnaround
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos paid tribute to coach Zinedine Zidane's inspirational qualities after the Spanish giants were crowned kings of Europe.
Milan: Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos paid tribute to coach Zinedine Zidane's inspirational qualities after the Spanish giants were crowned kings of Europe for the 11th time on Saturday.
Real claimed their second Champions League trophy in three years thanks to a 5-3 penalty shoot-out victory over Atletico Madrid at Milan's San Siro after the match had finished 1-1 after extra-time.
All of Real's players kept their composure to beat opposition goalkeper Jan Oblak from the spot, and when Atletico favourite Juanfran saw his effort come back off the post, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and hit the winner.
Ramos has been one of the stars of Real' latest two triumphs, having scored a late equaliser that pushed the 2014 final into extra-time before hitting the opener on Saturday after just 15 minutes only for Yannick Carrasco to pull Atletico level with 11 minutes remaining in normal time.
But for the man-of-the-match, Zidane's cool-headedness and leadership skills have helped tighten relations in a Real dressing room that, earlier this season, was not quite as cohesive.
"Zizou (Zidane) is very humble but determined. His arrival was really important for us because he has a great relationship with the players. We'll be celebrating this with him!" said Ramos.
Zidane was handed the head coach's position when Rafael Benitez was sacked by Real in January.
And Ramos suggested the Frenchman's promotion was the turning point of the season.
"With Rafael we had some good times, but when Zizou came the dressing room was more unified," added Ramos.
"Zidane brought a positive attitude with him."
It is the third time Zidane has got his hands on the Champions League trophy.
The former France and Real Madrid forward's superb match-winning volley secured the title for Real in 2002 when they beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in Glasgow.
Having been the assistant to Carlo Ancelotti when the Italian coaching great steered Real to the 10th -- 'La Decima' -- title in Lisbon two years ago, Zidane now gets a taste of the trophy for a third time after joining an elite few who have lifted the trophy as a player and a coach.
"I've won the Champions League as a player, as an assistant and now as a head coach. I'm so proud to be part of this great club. It's the club of my life, the one that made me who I am," said Zidane.
Ramos added: "It's an amazing feeling to win the Champions League again after 2014. It's unforgettable, and will have a special place in my heart."
Romelu Lukaku broke the deadlock for Chelsea after 69 minutes at Stamford Bridge to earn the holders a 1-0 victory over Zenit, whose Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg is the venue for next May's final.
Real Madrid remain unbeaten this term, having now won five and drawn one of their first six matches in all competitions under returning coach Carlo Ancelotti.
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