Champions League

Bale steps out of Ronaldo's shadow to finally shine for Real

2018-05-27 12:58
Gareth Bale (TEAMtalk)

Kiev - After a season dominated by injuries and disappointment at dropping down the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabeu, Gareth Bale showed why he was once the most expensive player in the world to win a third consecutive Champions League final for Real Madrid.

Bale came off the bench to score twice, including a stunning overhead kick with his first meaningful touch, as Real ran out 3-1 winners over Liverpool to secure a 13th European Cup in Kiev.

Yet, despite the euphoria, Bale refused to commit his future to Madrid after being left on the sidelins from the start, just as he had for last season's final in his native Cardiff.

"Obviously I was very disappointed not to start the game, I felt I deserved it but the manager makes the decisions," said Bale.

"I have to sit down with my agent in the summer and discuss it."

The Welshman didn't waste any time in making an impact with an acrobatic bicycle kick that will live long in the memory as it looped over the helpless Loris Karius, on a miserable night for the German 'keeper.

Karius had been at fault for Karim Benzema's opener just after half-time, and he then spilled Bale's 30-yard strike into his own net seven minutes from time to seal Liverpool's fate.

"The best (thing) I have been doing is to come on and make an impact. I certainly did (that)," added Bale.

"I just remember Marcelo clipping ball in, it was kind of at right height to give it a go and it was great to get the connection."

The 28-year-old has now won four Champions League winner's medals in five seasons since moving to Madrid.

And his wonder strike brought back memories of Zidane's own magnificent volleyed winner to earn Madrid the Champions League title against Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park in 2002.

That even one of the greatest players of all-time reacted with such wonder at Bale's brilliance on the touchline was testament to a strike worthy of winning any final.

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