Real Madrid win Champions League but Zidane steps down as manager
Liverpool mistakes proved expensive as they fail to win their sixth top European honour. Real Madrid won the trophy for the third-time in three years but all the action on the field was overshadowed by the shock news of the departure of Real Madrid manager Zinédine Zidane.
On Saturday night Zinédine Zidane cemented his reputation as one of the game’s finest coaches by guiding Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles, the first person ever to do so. But by Thursday he was announcing his decision to leave the Spanish giants, shocking the footballing world.
It has long been rumoured that there is a degree of dressing room unrest at Real Madrid and two of Real’s top stars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, wasted no time after their 3-1 Champions League final win over Liverpool to cast doubt on their Madrid futures.
Ronaldo hinted his time at Real might be coming to an end and also declared that he will be making a further announcement soon.
Gareth Bale was even more forthright with his comments, re-iterating the fact that he has been available for selection and a player who can make such a difference on the biggest stage should be playing every match. The 28-year-old said:
Obviously, I was very disappointed not to start the game, I felt I deserved it but the manager makes the decisions… 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 I’ve been fit ever since. I have to sit down with my agent in the summer and discuss it.– Gareth Bale, Real Madrid footballer.
PSG and Manchester United are thought to be interested in the former Tottenham man with Bayern Munich also a surprise name being mentioned as a potential destination for Bale. His performance in the final has probably added a few millions on his asking price.
In Saturday’s game, Liverpool’s dreams of a sixth top European honour were cruelly ended by a mixture of goalkeeping mistakes and pure Gareth Bale brilliance.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah went off injured early in the first half but Liverpool to their credit didn’t let this huge blow affect their on-field performance. A dull first half was far from the blockbuster that was expected from these two attacking sides but with the match delicately poised at 0-0, anything could happen.
On 50 minutes, Loris Karius, Liverpool’s 24-year-old goalkeeper, was at fault for Real’s first goal. The ball was safely in the hands of the German and a simple throw to one of the five Liverpool defenders was all it took. Karim Benzema was lurking in the area and stuck out an opportunist flick as Karius launched his throw. The ball hit the French forward’s boot and Karius could only watch in horror as the ball slowly trickled over the line to give Real Madrid the lead.
Real Madrid seemed the team most shocked by the goal and Liverpool took full advantage, levelling the game just four minutes later when Sadio Mané forced the ball over the line from close range.
Real Madrid retook the lead with a stunning bicycle kick scored by Gareth Bale in the 64th minute. It was a goal worthy of winning any competition and possibly the finest ever seen in a modern day European final.
Real’s third and decisive goal was again scored by Bale but this time, just like the first goal, Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius was at fault. A full 30-yards from goal, Bale aimed what looked like a speculative shot at goal. The ball did seem to swerve slightly in the air but it would be considered a fairly routine save. However, Karius’s attempted save only helped guide the ball into the net. A game to forget for the Liverpool keeper.
Real Madrid hung on to claim the victory and added the 2018 Champions League to the two he had already won as Real’s boss. In just two and a half years the second most successful manager in the club’s history also picked up 2 UEFA Supercups, 2 FIFA Club World Cups, 1 Spanish Cup and a league title. Zidane is certainly going out on top.
With Zinédine Zidane now having left the club, does this mean Ronaldo and Bale will stay, or has the damage already been done with the public comments from the pair?