On Saturday, Liverpool will once again face off Real Madrid in the Champions League final, hoping to avenge their defeat four years ago; but Gareth Bale’s inclusion may bring back nightmares from that night in 2018.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti included the Welsh forward to his lineup as a swansong as Bale is set to leave the club once his contract expires, ending a nine-year stay in the Spanish capital. The two had previously won the competition in their debut season in 2014, and Ancelotti will once again trust the forward to make an impact on the pitch like he did four years ago.
Liverpool fans will be anxious to see what Bale brings as he struck a bicycle kick and a long-distance shot past former keeper Loris Karius in the last finals meeting. BT Sport did not help their case when they posted a video from Real Madrid’s training ground. The video showed Bale beat teammate Marco Asensio before scoring the ball into the top left corner.
Although arguments can be made that it was merely a training match, the possibility of Bale scoring against Liverpool still remains up in the air. Before the 2018 Champions League final, the Welshman had been in terrific form, but he was left on the bench by then-manager Zinedine Zidane, with whom Bale shared a rocky relationship towards the end of the Frenchman’s first stint.
Once Bale was subbed in, he let his frustrations take control as he scored an amazing overhead kick that put out Liverpool’s hope of completing a Cinderella story. Bale would score a second from the distance, effectively sealing the match and earning the Man of the Match award.
Something similar could happen again as the Welsh forward will be playing his final game for the Spanish capital amid clashes with media outlets calling him out for prioritizing international games over club games.
Regardless of what happens, Bale will leave the club with the knowledge that he played a prominent role in securing many trophies, having played an instrumental role in several games to keep Real Madrid one of the most dominant forces in soccer.