- May 27, 2018
- Posted by: Rory Jiwani
- Category: Five things, News
Injuries, howlers, and one spectacular goal which will live long in the memory.
The 2018 Champions League final certainly did not lack for emotion.
Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 but that does not tell half the story of an incident-packed night in Kiev.
So here are the main talking points from football’s biggest club match of the year.
Liverpool fans were left crestfallen after half an hour.
Having had the better of the early stages, the Reds’ star striker Mo Salah went off with an injured shoulder.
Minutes earlier, he had tangled with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
And Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was unhappy with the Spaniard’s challenge.
It was a pivotal moment as Liverpool were quickly on the defensive.
The Egyptian is now a doubt for next month’s World Cup.
Early reports suggested he may have dislocated his shoulder which would have ruled him out of Russia.
But an X-ray brought more positive news.
Update: #Egypt Football Association: X-ray revealed that @MoSalah suffers from a sprain in the shoulder joint. Medical team of the Egyptian national team is optimistic about @MoSalah participation in the World Cup! https://t.co/lPJgzoRyBO
— Mai Shams El-Din (@maishams) May 26, 2018
On the pitch, Liverpool made it to half-time without conceding.
But then a moment of madness handed Madrid the lead early in the second half.
Being a goalkeeper can be the loneliest job in the world.
As the last line of defence, any mistake can be costly in the extreme.
And so it proved for Liverpool’s German keeper Loris Karius.
In the 51st minute, he tried to roll the ball out to a defender.
It would have been harmless enough but for the quick thinking of Karim Benzema.
The French forward stuck out a leg and the ball rolled agonisingly into the net.
As Benzema ran off to celebrate, Karius could not believe his misfortune.
The most freakish of goals on the biggest of occasions.
Sadio Mane equalised but then Gareth Bale fired the Spanish giants to victory.
Bale cut a dejected figure as he watched the first half from the bench.
He entered the fray in the 62nd minute and took just 122 seconds to make his mark.
A spectacular overhead kick for perhaps the greatest goal in a Champions League final.
Bale scored again seven minutes from time as Karius, who tearfully apologised to Liverpool fans after the match, made another error.
Zinedine Zidane’s decision not to start Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo in the biggest game of the season has cast significant doubt over the Welshman’s future.
But is the Portuguese star on his way too?
What now for Ronaldo?
Despite his below-par individual performance, Cristiano Ronaldo won a record fifth Champions League in Kiev.
But could this be his last appearance in a Real Madrid shirt?
Ronaldo made a slow start to the campaign after being suspended for a red card incurred in the Spanish Super Cup final.
In November, he was outpaced by Atletico Madrid defender Juanfran leading to accusations that age had finally caught up with the 32-year-old forward.
But he bounced back in the second half of the season to lead Real to another Champions League final.
And after his latest triumph, he referred to his nine-year spell at the club in the past tense.
“It’s been very nice to be at Madrid. In the coming days I will give a response to the fans because they actually have always been at my side.”
If it is a straight decision between Bale and Ronaldo as to who stays at the Bernabeu, Bale at 28 may prove the better long-term bet.
But Ronaldo has been synonymous with the famous white shirt since arriving from Manchester United in July 2009.
Watch this space.