Gareth Bale produced one of the all-time great Champions League goals in Saturday night’s final against Liverpool.
The Wales star scored twice as a substitute in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win Kiev, the first coming barely two minutes after coming on as he met Marcelo’s cross with a stunning bicycle kick to find the top corner.
It surpassed even his 60-yard solo run for Tottenham against Inter Milan seven years ago and here, we highlight some of the other great goals in the competition.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 2010/11)
After exchanging passes with Sergio Busquets, Messi showed his sublime skills during the 2-0 semi-final first leg win at Barca’s bitter rivals Real Madrid. The Argentinian accelerated away from Lassana Diarra, evaded both Sergio Ramos and Raul Albiol and then beat Marcelo before coolly sliding the ball past Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid, 2001/02)
Four years after leading France to World Cup glory, the current Real coach won his first and only Champions League title as a player after a superb winner at Hampden Park. Roberto Carlos hooked in a looping cross from the left and Zidane, just inside the penalty area, calmly waited for the ball to drop before rifling a first-time left-footed volley into the roof of Hans-Jorg Butt’s net.
Lars Ricken (Borussia Dortmund 1996/97)
The 20-year-old substitute had been on the pitch for just 16 seconds when he sealed a 3-1 success for Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Dortmund in the 1997 final against Juventus. Ricken, on for Swiss striker Stephane Chapuisat, raced from halfway to latch on to Andreas Moller’s through-ball and then lifted a fine first-time strike over stranded keeper Angelo Peruzzi.
Mario Mandzukic (Juventus, 2016/17)
Juve lost the 2017 final 4-1 to Real but scored undoubtedly the best goal of the night in Cardiff. Leonardo Bonucci’s searching pass, the ball did not touch the ground as Alex Sandro volleyed first-time across goal, Gonzalo Higuain cushioned the delivery and Mandzukic controlled with his chest before hooking an overhead volley into the top right corner.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, 2008/09)
Ronaldo produced a stunning long-range strike against Porto to put United into the 2009 semi-finals. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men needed a result in the Estadio do Dragao having conceded two away goals in drawing the home leg 2-2, and Ronaldo made the difference. Inside six minutes, he collected the ball from Anderson, turned and then unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top left corner from around 40 yards.
Dejan Stankovic (Inter Milan, 2010/11)
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s sweeper-keeper role came undone in sensational style thanks to Stankovic’s outrageous volley from inside the centre circle. Neuer, then playing for Schalke, came racing out of his goal to clear the ball from the edge of the D with an impressive diving header. Unfortunately for him, it sailed straight to Serbia midfielder Stankovic and his technique was flawless as he rifled the ball into the unguarded net without a bounce.
Michael Essien (Chelsea, 2008/09)
Although Andres Iniesta ultimately ended Chelsea’s hopes of making the final in heartbreaking fashion with a stoppage-time away goal, Essien’s thunderous strike will live long in the memory. Frank Lampard’s attempted cross was blocked by Yaya Toure, sending the ball looping into the air. It dropped perfectly for Ghana midfielder Essien, who stepped forward and let fly with a left-footed volley which crashed down off the crossbar and bounced into the roof of the net.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 2017/18)
Bale’s stunner in Kiev had precedent, with Ronaldo producing an almost identical moment of magic in the quarter-final. The Portugal forward acrobatically connected with Dani Carvajal’s cross to fire the ball past Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon from around the penalty spot and help Real to a 3-0 first leg and 4-3 aggregate win.
Substitute Gareth Bale scored a stunning overhead kick and a long-range second as Real Madrid claimed their third straight Champions League title, but Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat owed just as much to two howling errors from goalkeeper Loris Karius.
The Reds suffered a dramatic blow when star man Mohamed Salah was forced off with a shoulder injury inside half an hour and then went behind as Karius had his pocket picked by Karim Benzema in embarrassing fashion.
Sadio Mane rifled home an equaliser from close range but Bale’s unforgettable, acrobatic finish restored the lead before Karius threw in a swerving long-range effort from the Welshman.
Gareth Bale. Began the day a brooding figure having been left out of the starting XI in favour of Benzema and was seemingly absent for much of the warm-up. But once he was given his chance with just over half an hour left he grabbed the spotlight. He had been on the field less than three minutes when he flung himself in the air and summoned a goal for the ages. He then had the bravado to chance his arm from unlikely distance and cashed in on Karius’ fragile confidence. Suitors be warned, Bale is not for sale.
Stat of the day
Defeat for Liverpool took manager Jurgen Klopp’s losing streak in finals to six in a row. The German lost the Europa League and League Cup with Liverpool in 2016 having lost two German Cups and a Champions League during his time at Borussia Dortmund. He has tasted success once, though, beating Bayern Munich 5-2 in the German Cup back in 2012.
Real Madrid broke new ground in Europe’s top competition by naming an identical starting XI to the one which won the 2017 Champions League final against Juventus last year. Five of Zinedine Zidane’s seven substitutes were even the same. Theo Hernandez and Lucas Vazquez were the new arrivals, taking the slots of departed duo Alvaro Morata and Danilo.