‘UEFA panel needs sacking!’ – Bale baffled by Goal of the season snub
Gareth Bale expressed his surprise after UEFA’s Goal of the Season panel overlooked his overhead kick in the Champions League final, joking that the governing body’s decision makers “want to be sacked”.
The goal put Real Madrid 2-1 up against Liverpool in Kiev and Bale scored again in the last 10 minutes of the game to help secure a third consecutive Champions League trophy for his club.
Despite the spectacular nature of his first strike, the panel adjudicating UEFA’s Goal of the Season award for 2017-18 opted to shortlist Cristiano Ronaldo’s acrobatic goal in the quarter-final victory over Juventus ahead of Bale’s goal, with only one nominee from each of the main UEFA competitions allowed on the list.
Bale told the Daily Mail: “I don’t know how it wasn’t on that list!
“I want to know who is on the panel because they want to be sacked.”
Ronaldo’s strike won the vote, with Dimitri Payet’s Europa League quarter-final goal for Marseille finishing second ahead of Eva Navarro’s curling effort for Spain in the Under-17 Championship final.
Bale was coy on the question of whether or not his goal was superior to Ronaldo’s, saying: “It’s not for me to say!”
His strike is widely regarded as one of the best in Champions League final history and rapidly earned comparisons with Zinedine Zidane’s effort in Los Blancos’ 2002 victory over Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden but has been nominated for the Puskas Award.
Fittingly, Zidane was in charge of Madrid when Bale scored his effort in Ukraine, although he stepped down in the aftermath of the victory.
The Welshman has admitted that it was a goal fuelled by the frustration of having been left on the bench by the Frenchman, crediting his anger as the reason he came on and made such a dramatic impact on the game.
Madrid have started a new era under the guidance of coach Julen Lopetegui, and with Cristiano Ronaldo sold this summer to Juventus, it has opened the door for Bale to play a more regular role in the team.
The 29-year-old has started all of his side’s La Liga matches this term and has rewarded his new boss with a return of three goals and two assists. Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao was the first time this term he had failed to find the target in the Primera Division as Madrid dropped their first points of the season.