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The Champions League finals that Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid contested in 2014 and 2016 were both tight, cagey affairs, with the two teams inseparable after 90 minutes.

This game, however, was incredibly one-sided, with the reigning champions of Europe dominating their cross-city rivals and putting one foot in the final thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick — his second treble in as many Champions League games.

Here are five things that we learned from the meeting at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Ronaldo is pretty much a centre-forward at this point

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid

We're used to seeing Ronaldo deployed on the left flank, from where he saunters into the box to sniff out scoring opportunities. But more and more this season the 32-year-old superstar has taken up a central position and stayed there.

Against Atléti, with Isco starting in the absence of the injured Gareth Bale, Ronaldo played alongside Karim Benzema as an orthodox centre-forward in a 4-3-1-2 formation.

From there he took five shots — scoring three of them — created two chances, completed 85.7 per cent of his passes and three take-ons. As his pace over longer distances diminishes, and he becomes less able to cover ground and less willing to track back, a future as an out-and-out striker makes perfect sense for the man who now has 103 Champions League goals to his name.

Real Madrid should stick with the midfield diamond

Head coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid

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The switch to a diamond midfield behind a standard front two was somewhat enforced due to Bale's injury, but Real coach Zinédine Zidane should consider sticking with the formation as it seemed to give his side fantastic balance in all phases.

The extra body in the middle of the park helped the home team dominate the ball, enjoying 62 per cent possession and completing 606 passes to Atlético's 347. Toni Kroos, in particular, stood out, making more passes than any other player (104) at a staggering completion rate of 96.2 per cent.

Atlético Madrid failed to plug the gap between midfield and defence

As good as Real were, Atlético were equally poor and uncharacteristically lacking physically and positionally.

In light of Zidane's men operating with a No.10 between the lines, Diego Simeone's failure to recognise that Isco was being allowed too much freedom behind the front two was a major failing.

It would have been prudent of the Argentinian tactician to switch to the 4-1-4-1 formation that he used in the away leg of last year's semi-final against Bayern Munich. Captain Gabi could have dropped back to plug the gap Isco was continually exploiting, while Griezmann's pace would have made him a threat on the counter as a lone forward.

Isco could keep Bale out of the team

Although he was substituted after 68 minutes, with Zidane recognising that the Spain international was lucky to escape a second yellow card, Isco staked a claim to be considered for a regular starting berth, irrespective of Bale's availability.

Enjoying the rare opportunity to play in his favoured central attacking midfield role, the 24-year-old found a team-mate with an incredible 59 of 60 attempted passes (98.3 per cent) and completed three dribbles.

The reported Chelsea transfer target was almost faultless in behind Benzema and Ronaldo, and was also fastidious in carrying out his defensive duties, tucking in on the right side of the midfield when the ball was lost and Madrid reverted to their 4-4-1-1 out-of-possession shape.

Marcelo is the best full-back in the world

Real Madrid left-back Marcelo

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It's not even up for debate: Marcelo is the best full-back in the world right now.

The energetic Brazilian, who was Madrid's man of the match in the last round versus Bayern despite Ronaldo's hat-trick heroics, was against outstanding against Atléti.

In their 4-3-1-2 formation, Los Blancos were especially narrow in the advanced positions, so Marcelo, along with Dani Carvajal on the other side of the back four, was tasked with providing width. He did so with aplomb, although, having lined up behind Ronaldo — who can hardly be considered a traditional winger — on the left for the last few years, this was nothing new for the full-back.

With two completed dribbles, two crosses, one chance created and a multitude of forays into the final third, it was a typically marauding display from Marcelo.

However, Marcelo's attacking output has never been in question, rather it is his defensive qualities that have, at times, left much to be desired. No longer — the 47-cap Brazil international has grown to become equally as effective in his own half as he is in the opposition's. The 28-year-old made two tackles, two interceptions and 11 ball recoveries against Los Colchoneros.

It seems crazy to think that Fábio Coentrão started the 2014 Champions League final ahead of Marcelo.

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