Lisbon: Gareth Bale completed a dream first season at Real Madrid as he paid off another large slice of his world record price tag with the decisive goal in a 4-1 Champions League final triumph over Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
The Welsh forward, signed for $136.31 million from Tottenham Hotspur last August, headed his side in front with 10 minutes of extra time remaining as Real claimed their 10th European Cup in dramatic fashion.
Bale, the first Welshman to score in world football’s most prestigious club final, had also netted a magnificent solo winner when Real beat arch-rivals Barcelona in the Spanish Cup final last month.
“For me the price tag means nothing,” Bale, with a Real scarf wrapped around his head, said. “If I came for a penny I wanted to play well and play in big competitions and win trophies like we have this season and obviously the move has paid off.”
“We have shown all season for us when we play our own football we win games. It was ‘keep attacking’, do what we do best, and we all believed in that,” Bale said.
“I started to have a little feeling (it wasn’t going to be my night) but I’ve learned to keep going. Thankfully I got a decisive goal. It was an unbelievable feeling lifting the trophy, one you can’t describe and it will never be forgotten… it’ll remember the night forever.”
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said Bale would be an even more formidable force next season. “At the right moment, Gareth Bale was ready to score and that’s how it’s been all season,” the Italian said. “He’ll be even better next year.”
Real talisman Cristiano Ronaldo said: “Ever since I arrived at the club I always felt ready for this moment. The Decima (10th European Cup) is here now and with records broken along the way it’s just awesome.”
Man of the Match Angel Di Maria, who accepted his award from Alex Ferguson, said: “It’s fantastic to have won this Cup – it’s a dream I’ve had since I was a small child.” (Reuters)