Real Madrid won their 13th European Crown in bizarre fashion
Gareth Bale’s unbelievable overhead kick will be talked about for generations. The Welshman had to be content with starting on the bench but when his time came he stunned the world. Bale had no right to connect with Marcelo’s cross but that’s exactly what he did. It was a sensational moment in Bale’s career and a significant moment for Real Madrid who lifted their 13th European Cup/Champions League title.
The Real Madrid versus Liverpool Champions League final didn’t produce the type of game that people were expecting. Liverpool started the game brightly but that all changed on the half-hour mark when Sergio Ramos’s challenge on Mo Salah ended in tears for Liverpool superstar. Salah walked off the pitch nursing his shoulder. The distress on his face, the faces of his teammates and supporters said it all. Seven minutes later it was Dani Carvajal who was in tears. The Real Madrid right-back was also forced to leave the pitch due to injury. Salah’s absence was apparent and Real Madrid began to push further up the pitch.
A game of two halves
The deadlock was broken on 51 minutes when Loris Karius made a monumental error when he tried to throw the ball out to Trent Alexander-Arnold, only for it to be intercepted by Karim Benzema. Real Madrid’s lead lasted all-of four minutes, when, Sadio Mané scored from a Liverpool corner, game on. Zinedine Zidane rolled the dice on the hour, Isco was hooked and Bale made his appearance. Bale, not content with scoring arguably the best goal you’ll ever see let rip from 25 yards only for Karius to have an other calamitous moment of the game. At 3-1 it was game over, yet the result only tells half the story.
Liverpool played generally well but they looked a different side without Salah. Real Madrid did what they’ve done all season, finding a way to win in the Champions Leauge. Luka Modric ran the midfield with authority. Bale may well have stolen the headlines but Modric’s performance should not go unnoticed.
Bale could walk into any team in the world and there will be the usual big spenders making contact with his agent in the Summer. Bale’s future at the Bernabéu has been in doubt for some time. Real Madrid’s board are looking to balance the books, who knows where Bale will be playing his football in August.
I have to sit down with my agent and talk because I need to be playing every week. And I need to consider if that isn’t the case. Maybe I’ll be here, maybe not. Being left on the bench seemed to hurt Bale, as he reflected on this too. It was disappointing, I felt I should have started,” he said. I’ve been playing well, but I know that the team is about the squad, not just 11 players. You have to make an impact when you come on and that’s what I did. It was a dream come true to win the title and make more history. Garth Bale via Marca.com
Bale’s comments may not have come as a surprise but Ronaldo’s did. Ronaldo’s TV interview with Spanish media cast doubt over his future. The question arises, was the retort a ‘heat-of-the-moment’ comment or an effort to steal the limelight from Bale? Only time will tell.
Liverpool’s post-mortem shouldn’t take long. A new goalkeeper will be the order of the day. Jürgen Klopp may feel like luck wasn’t on his side, he has to move on. It will be interesting to see how Liverpool react next season. Spanish football continues to dominate European football. It will be the two Madrid clubs that will contest the European Super Cup in August.