Sunday, May 27, 2018 7:36 am
Gareth Bale says he will have to consider his future at Real Madrid in spite of scoring two decisive goals for the club in Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final match.
Bale proved his worth by delivering the Champions League trophy with a sensational brace after coming off the bench in the 3-1 win over Liverpool in Saturday’s game.
Real’s record signing had been left out of the starting line-up for the final match for the second year in a row as coach Zinedine Zidane played Isco instead.
Zidane fielded the same side that beat Juventus 4-1 in last year’s final in Bale’s home city of Cardiff.
The former Tottenham Hotspur forward grabbed his opportunity in emphatic fashion after replacing Spain midfielder Isco just after the hour mark.
This was when he conjured up an inspired overhead kick to put Madrid back in front in the 64th minute, after Sadio Mane had cancelled out Karim Benzema’s opportune opening goal.
Bale then sealed Real’s record-extending 13th European Cup with a long-range strike which flew through the hands of Liverpool’s hapless goalkeeper Loris Karius.
The result ensured that he pocketed a remarkable fourth Champions League winners’ medal since moving to the Spanish capital in 2013.
“It has to be the best goal in a Champions League final, there is no bigger stage,” Bale said of his jaw-dropping strike which put Madrid on their way to a third consecutive Champions League triumph.
“I am just happy to get the win. It is a team game but when you are a substitute, it is a game of more than 11 players. I made an impact.”
Bale, however, said he was not happy to have been left out of many of Real’s biggest games this season.
He admitted he would have to think long and hard about his future at the club where he has won so much.
“I need to be playing week in, week out and that has not happened this season. I had an injury five, six weeks in but (have been) fit ever since.
“I have to sit down with my agent in the summer and discuss it.”
Bale also scored in Real’s 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the 2014 final match.
This was after he struck the goal that put Madrid ahead in extra time and on their way to finally landing ‘La Decima’.
That was the 10th European crown they had craved for 12 years.
He also played a decisive role in winning the 2016 crown against Atletico and struck a memorable winner in the 2014 King’s Cup final against arch rivals FC Barcelona.
However, his career at Real has been somewhat overshadowed by persistent muscle injuries and a long spell out following ankle surgery.
“Obviously I was very disappointed not to start the game. I felt I deserved it. But the manager makes the decisions,” he said.
“The best I have been doing is to come on and make an impact. I certainly did.”(Reuters/NAN)