Five take aways from the Champions League final game between Real Madrid and Liverpool
Real Madrid completed a hat-trick of Champions League wins in just three years with a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the final on Saturday, May 26.
Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane both scored for their respective sides before a brace from Gareth Bale gave Real Madrid the win.
These are five thoughts from the game
1. Zidane deserves some accolades for his substitutions
Another game and another Zinedine Zidane’s substitution has won the game for Real Madrid. Often praised for his man-management skills and not his tactical nous, Zidane on Saturday night in Kyiv showed that he understands the game just like the elite managers.
He brought on Bale for Isco and the Welshman went on to score the game-winning brace. Some might say that was a textbook substitution but Isco was clearly overwhelmed by the pressing of Liverpool and Zidane opted for the pace and width of Bale which worked.
The likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and other top coaches would have been praised to high heavens for the substitution but not Zidane.
And this is not one-off too. Against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, he switched seamlessly from a 4-3-3, that freed Isco, to a 4-4-2 in the second leg, with the Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio stretching the opposition out wide.
Against Juventus in the second leg, he took out Bale and Casemiro at half-time, and against Bayern Munich in the first leg semi-final, brought on Asensio who went on to score the winner.
2. Real Madrid and the Champions League
Saturday’s win gave Real Madrid their 13th Champions League title and a third consecutive title. After a 12-year-wait, Real Madrid have won four titles in five years. This is their trophy.
The Champions League has become a huge obsession at Real Madrid and a season is not regarded as successful without the Big Ear
3 Klopp fails in final again
Saturday’s defeat was the sixth consecutive final loss for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, a huge dent in his career.
Klopp has been refreshing for Liverpool who have made steady improvement and a Champions League title would have been spectacular but the 3-1 loss to Real Madrid once-again exposed Klopp on the big stage.
The biggest letdown for Klopp on Saturday was how he failed to inspire Liverpool after starman Mohamed Salah was taken following an unfortunate injury.
Not helped by the lack of backup on the bench, Klopp could not muster any tactical change to cope with the loss of Salah. Instead, he simply replaced Adam Lallana and stuck with the same formation which didn’t work without his star man.
4. Ronaldo is a Champions League GOAT
It wasn’t his night at all and everyone who knows Cristiano Ronaldo could tell he was disappointed but nonetheless, on Saturday night, he wrote his name again in the history books by becoming the first player to win five titles in the Champions League era.
He also has the most goals, (120), most games won (97), most goals in a year (19) and most goals in a season (17).
Ronaldo has also finished the highest goalscorer in six consecutive years and seven in total.
The greatest Champions League player of all time.
5. Bale shows he deserves another chance at Real Madrid
After a subpar season blighted with injuries, Gareth Bale on Saturday night showed that he deserved another chance at Real Madrid.
Unable to make the starting XI of some of the most important games, Real Madrid were ready to let go of their record signing this summer.
But his form towards the end of the season including the goal against Barcelona and the brace against Liverpool showed that the Welshman deserves another chance at Real Madrid.