Brilliant Bale wins Madrid the CL!

Gareth Bale was at his brilliant best as his two goals beat Liverpool 3-1 to win Real Madrid their third Champions League in a row for La Decimotercera.

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A heartbreaking first half saw Mohamed Salah and Dani Carvajal trudge off with injuries, before Bale came on to score arguably the greatest goal ever seen in a European Final with his overhead kick, before Loris Karius fumbled in the Welshman's thunderbolt.

The No 11 was named a substitute, despite his run of five goals in Madrid's last four League games, as Zinedine Zidane fielded the same XI that won last season's showpiece. The Reds, for their part, were similarly full-strength.

Los Blancos were going for La Decimotercera – or their 13th European Cup – and a third straight success in the competition, whereas Jurgen Klopp's side were looking to win the jug-eared trophy for the sixth time.

Spearheaded by their prolific trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool made an explosive start, but they failed to take any of their nine attempts at Keylor Navas’ goal, the Costa Rican notably getting down low to keep out a Trent Alexander-Arnold drive.

A turning point arguably came as the first half drew to a close, when Sergio Ramos controversially pulled down Salah, tugging his arm and forcing the winger to leave the field with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder.

Madrid also lost Dani Carvajal before the interval, but Los Merengues nonetheless went on from to strength to strength, even if Karim Benzema was offside when he knocked in the rebound from Cristiano Ronaldo’s bullet header.

The restart began with Isco floating a volley on to Karius’ crossbar, but while the German could do nothing about the midfielder’s attempt, he really ought to have prevented Benzema from opening the scoring, having aimed his throw straight at the No 9, who deflected the ball into an empty net.

Controversy surfaced again when Mane appeared to slap Ramos in the face, possibly in retaliation to his teammate going off with an injury, but the Senegalese stayed on the pitch to flick a corner past Navas.

Karius, meanwhile, seemed to have redeemed himself by tipping Isco’s close-range strike around the post, but that was nothing compared to Bale dipping an absolutely insane overhead kick overthe shot-stopper for arguably the greatest goal ever seen in a European Final.

Liverpool’s heads dropped as a result, and despite Mane smacking the base of Navas’ post with a daisy-cutter, Karius’ nightmare evening was sealed when he turned Bale’s long-range drive into his own net.

Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

Benzema 51, Bale 64, 83 (RM)

Real Madrid: Keylor; Carvajal (Nacho 37), Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco (Bale 61); Benzema (Asensio 89), Ronaldo

Liverpool: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Milner (Emre Can 83), Wijnaldum; Salah (Lallana 30), Mane, Firmino

Referee: Mazic (SRB)

Tags Liverpool