Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale: Anger fuelled Champions League overhead kick against Liverpool

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Gareth Bale has told the Daily Mail that anger at being left out of Real Madrid’s starting XI for the Champions League final against Liverpool helped fuel the stunning overhead kick that set them on the path to a 3-1 victory.

Wales international Bale was sent on by then coach Zinedine Zidane with the score at 1-1 after 61 minutes, beating Liverpool keeper Loris Karius with his sensational strike three minutes later.

Asked about his feelings in the moments before the goal, he said: “Angry — quite angry, to be honest. Obviously, I felt I deserved to start the game. I’d been scoring goals. So yeah, I suppose it was hard to put the anger aside.”

Bale said he had decided to attempt the overhead after realising that Liverpool defenders would soon crowd him out.

“You know you are in a situation where, if you’re going to get closed down, you have to try something,” he said. “You certainly don’t really think about looking stupid.

“If you don’t try things, things never happen. If you have time to think about it, it doesn’t come off. I knew exactly where the ball went, and you can see in the video my head turns to look exactly where the ball is going. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was good.”

Bale voiced sympathy for Karius, whose mistake had led to the first Madrid goal and who let a speculative long-range effort from Bale through his grasp late on to seal Madrid’s win.

“I always try to put a bit of wobble on the ball,” he said. “You try to make it more difficult because if it doesn’t go in the corner I always give them a problem if it’s right down their throat.

“Mistakes happen. It’s just unfortunate it’s in a final. Yes, I suppose it’s not quite as bad as it looked, but I suppose he should save it.”

Bale, a regular part of the Madrid team under Julen Lopetegui, said the situation at the club had changed following the summer departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus.

“Obviously it’s going to be a little different from having such a big player there,” he said. “It’s maybe a bit more relaxed, yes. I suppose there is more of a team, more working as one unit rather than one player.”

And he indicated that he could return to the Premier League one day, saying: “You always want to come back and play in your home league and a part of you will always miss home.

“But I’m enjoying playing for the biggest club in the world and winning trophies.”