Madrid: Olympic champion Usain Bolt has hailed Gareth Bale’s brilliant winner for Real Madrid in Wednesday’s King’s Cup final against Barcelona, saying it was the kind of goal any sprinter would be proud of.
The Wales winger picked up the ball wide on the left on the halfway line five minutes from time and galloped away from Barca centre back Marc Bartra before slipping the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto to secure a 2-1 victory.
“It was a great goal,” the Jamaican was quoted as saying in a Spanish daily, on Friday.
“He showed the fantastic speed he has to leave the defender behind and then incredible calm to put the ball between the keeper’s legs,” added the keen Manchester United supporter, who retained the 100 and 200 metre titles at the London Games in 2012.
“It’s the kind of goal any sprinter in the world would want to score one day.”
Bale’s now-famous goal gave him the first taste of major silverware and the world’s most expensive player is hungry for more. Bale, who is hailed as the “Prince of Wales” in the Spanish media, said, “It was a perfect night.”
“It is great to win trophies and I am very happy to have won my first title with Real Madrid,” he added. “This victory was for the fans for all the support they have given us, the atmosphere was fantastic.”
The goal also showcased the 24-year-old’s physical prowess. “I had to run, Bartra pushed me and tried to block me but he couldn’t. I had to get around him. It was great to score the goal but better to win the match and the Cup.”
Bale added that scoring the winner in the final was “a dream come true”. “Not just because I scored but because of the work of the whole team. It was really special.”
It was a breathtaking end to the 228th meeting between the arch-rivals and Bale proved he can step up on the big occasions after a debut season disrupted by niggling injuries, during which many questioned his exorbitant price tag.
His performance also helped Real make light of the absence of injured top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale easily outshone Barca’s four-times World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who had another quiet game, and their marquee signing of the close season Neymar.
“It is certainly the most important goal of Bale’s career,” Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “It came at a decisive point of the match.”