By the end he could barely walk. He looked as though he played half injured from his thigh strain. He was some way from his best. And yet, come that final moment, when Real Madrid needed a penalty to be scored to win a record eleventh European Cup, it was, of course, inevitably Cristiano Ronaldo who stepped up.
Somehow, he is destined to dominate, even when not at his best. A season which has often been chaotic, haphazard and saw Rafa Benitez dismissed and a rookie coach appointed in Zinedine Zidane, ends in a historic achievement.
As for their cross city rivals, Atletico, it ends desperately again. In 1974 they came within minutes; in 2014, against Real Madrid, they came within seconds. And now they came within a penalty kick of this trophy. Juanfran, so excellent in the game, was their fall guy hitting the post on Atletico’s fourth penalty, allowing Ronaldo his moment.
Sergio Ramos lifts the Champions League trophy after Real Madrid came out on top in the penalty shootout against Atletico Madrid
Ronaldo reserved himself for the fifth penalty and after Juanfran had seen his spotkick strike the foot of the post he made no mistake
Keylor Navas dives to his right and nearly gets fingertips onto Juanfran's penalty but it mattered not as the shot cannoned off the post
Juanfran trudges back to the centre circle after missing the crucial penalty to give Ronaldo the chance to clinch the victory for Madrid
The Real Madrid players celebrate and their joy will spill long into the night after the club clinched their 11th European Cup at the San Siro
Atletico Madrid substitute Yannick Carrasco fires in from close range to bring his side level after 79 minutes of an absorbing encounter
The Belgian wheels away in delight having brought the scores level and the 22-year-old celebrated with his girlfriend on the sidelines
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos celebrates giving his side the lead with a close range finish after 15 minutes at the San Siro
Ramos steers the ball underneath the fallen goalkeeper as Atletico failed to play to their strengths in the first 15 minutes of the encounter
The 30-year-old defender showed once more his appetite for the big occasion by scoring a crucial goal in the Champions League final
Before him, Lucas Vazquez, Marcelo, Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos had all confidently rolled their penalties into the right-hand corner. Antoine Greizmann, Gabi and Saul had done the same, but to the left side, for Atletico.
It was excruciating to watch them miss out again, having disposed of Bayern and Barcelona and with their commander in chief, Diego Simeone, managing to hold his own on a fraction on the budget of his opponents. Yet succumb they did and Real Madrid have transformed a season which threatened to be awful into something glorious.
True, they have come to appreciate that Casemiro is more than just an adornment to sit on the bench while James attends to the important business of selling shirts, but rather a vital part of the team who adds balance. And, having accepted that, then they have a midfield to overwhelm even the hard-working Atletico.
Antoine Griezmann had the opportunity to restore parity three minutes into the second-half but he could only fire his shot onto the bar
Griezmann watches his shot rebound off the underside of the bar and into the sky as a good chance went begging for Atletico
The Atletico Madrid fans travelled in their numbers to Milan to get behind their team with the banner 'Your Values Make Us Believe'
Opera singer Andrea Bocelli performs prior to the final and the Italian gave an unforgettable version of the Champions League anthem
Real Madrid supporters similarly unfurled a banner at the other end of the ground which translated 'Until the End, Come on Real!'
Alicia Keys provided the pre-match entertainment on the pitch during the opening ceremony to the 2016 Champions League final