Champions League 2014: Best and Worst Performers from Real Madrid vs. Atletico

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Champions League 2014: Best and Worst Performers from Real Madrid vs. Atletico
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The 4-1 scoreline that ultimately set Real Madrid apart from local rivals Atletico doesn't give a fair account of how valiantly Diego Simeone's men performed in Saturday's Champions League final.

Lisbon laid on a most memorable derby affair, and although the three-goal differential would suggest Los Merengues were domineering on their way to glory, the first 90 minutes of their outing were anything but.

Extra time eventually saw Carlo Ancelotti's side help the Italian on his way to an illustrious fifth European Cup title as player and manager, with the best and worst performers of the night discussed ahead.

 

Best Performers

Angel Di Maria, Real Madrid

Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Prior to Saturday's clash, all the talk in Real Madrid's camp was revolving around the front-line ranks of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo—dubbed "BBC."

However, it was Angel Di Maria who thrived in blissful ignorance, evidently pouncing on the lack of attention paid toward his input in advance of the matchup and surprising all with just how prominent a role he would play.

Matt Dickinson of The Times and BBC Sport's Phil McNulty were each in agreement that the winger deserved Man-of-the-Match honours:

WhoScored.com stats indicate that Di Maria took 126 touches in his 120 minutes, while Ronaldo and Bale managed a combined 128.

 

Gabi, Atletico Madrid

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Every member of the Atleti line-up will have undoubtedly felt a sharp sting in their agonising, extra-time defeat, but the tireless display of Gabi means that he has more reason to feel aggrieved at the loss than any.

The Guardian's Jacob Steinberg decided to give the central star the highest mark of any player on the night (nine out of 10) for his troubles, while two-time Champions League winner Gary Neville elected the Spaniard as his most impressive performer on the night:

Gabi was catalytic when in possession and pressuring without the ball, constantly on the move to ensure Real had as little space as possible to work with.

 

Worst Performers

Sami Khedira, Real Madrid

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Granted, this final will be chalked up as an unfair representation of the German's ability, but Sami Khedira nonetheless has to be singled out for a forgettable outing, recent return from injury or not.

Having just come back from an absence that required surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament, Khedira can be somewhat forgiven for a lack of match fitness, but ESPN FC's James Tyler wasn't so accepting of the disappointment:

Real's anchor was replaced by Isco on 59 minutes after completing just 18 of his 27 pass attempts, per Squawka, as well as failing in both of his two tackling efforts.

 

Tiago, Atletico Madrid

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It's been a long road to this point for Tiago, but the dream failed to be recognised in the end, and it was partly due to his failure to live up to expectations at the most pivotal moment.

It would, of course, be unfair to lump any one Atletico player with the burden of this defeat, but McNulty provided commentary on one particularly poor part of the Portuguese's evening:

Tiago was the only Atleti outfielder to finish the match without a yellow card to his name, but that, and his 71 percent passing accuracy, per WhoScored, are merely indicative of how he failed to assert his usual influence on proceedings.

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