Football is black and white, there is no grey area. At the end of the day there is one winner and one loser and you do not get medals for only playing attractive football, although you can complement attractive football with winning trophies. All the great teams are known for their style of football but also because they won trophies playing the way they did, this Real side will go down in history for winning four Champions League Trophies in the last five years.
The lineups in Kyiv were straightforward the only exception being that Zidane selected Isco ahead of Bale for his starting XI. Liverpool started the game as the stronger of the two teams as their pressing and quick attacks were able to penetrate Real’s defences. At the 30th minute Ramos dragged Salah to the ground which left the Egyptian winger clutching his shoulder. Salah attempted to carry on but broke down in tears as a suspected dislocated shoulder ended his evening. Seven minutes later Carvajal went down in tears with a suspected achilles injury and Nacho was brought on. Liverpool seemed a different side once Salah left the pitch and Real began to grow into the game. Liverpool held on and at halftime the game was still level.
As play resumed Liverpool seemed to be reinvigorated but it was Real Madrid who scored first. Karius collected the ball in the penalty area but in comical fashion rolled the ball straight into Benzema who knocked it back into goal. Real Madrid had the lead in the 51st minute with a goal that would be found in a playground. Liverpool fought back and equalised four minutes through Mané as he poached a Lovren header. Sensing that Liverpool were growing back into the game, Zidane brought on Bale for Isco in the 61st minute. It was a masterstroke as the back in form Bale probably scored the best goal in Champions League final history via a bicycle kick in the 64th minute. There was nothing anyone could have done about it as the fans were in shock after what they had witnessed. The goal deflated the Liverpool players and the hammer blow came in the 83rd minute as Gareth Bale shot with force from the middle of the Liverpool half, the ball was heading straight into Karius but he somehow managed to deflect the ball into the net and end Liverpool’s dreams of winning the final. The final whistle blew and Real who in 2014 were looking for their 10th Champions League title having not won in 12 years had now won their 13th.
Bale’s goal was worthy of winning any trophy but the injuries to Salah and Carvajal put a damper on the festivities. Post match Karius in tears went towards the Liverpool fans and apologised for his mistakes, and while the fans were accepting of it Karius will need to dig deep to recover from such a poor performance. Liverpool and Spurs are great attacking teams and play brilliant football but these teams lack a winning mentality. In the end the experience and mentality of Real was too strong for the reds. Bale and Ronaldo put their futures at Madrid into question through some post match interviews and it will be an interesting transfer window ahead. Zidane’s future was in question before the final but after winning it there is not doubt who will be managing Madrid at the start of next season.
The World Cup now approaches and many football fans around the world will wait to see whether Salah and Carvajal will make it to the tournament in Russia. The Egyptian has become a shining light this year and the tournament will not be the same with him no leading Egypt onto the pitch.