Gareth Bale rubs it into Liverpool with comments on 2018 UCL final

Gareth Bale has spoken about how Real Madrid’s big-game experience helped them to overcome Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final.

The Welshman scored twice for the LaLiga giants as they triumphed 3-1 in Kiev, winning the tournament for the third successive year and the fourth time in five seasons. By contrast, it was the Reds’ first appearance at that stage of the competition in 11 years.

The 33-year-old was speaking on BT Sport (via Liverpool Echo) as he reflected on that night from five years ago, revealing a conversation he latterly had with one of the players from Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Bale said: “I remember speaking to Adam Lallana after we beat Liverpool in the first game [2018] we played against them in the final.

“Some of them struggled to sleep, they were nervous about it and we were just like it’s another game; we expect to win and beat you, even though you’ve been playing better than us. We know how to grind out a result, especially in a final.”

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Liverpool fans won’t thank Bale for rubbing it in with his admission that Real Madrid fully expected to triumph because of their pedigree in the Champions League, particularly when it comes to finals, which we endured again in 2022 as Los Blancos got the better of us in Paris.

While Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius unfortunately had an error-strewn game which has come to define his career, the Wales winger thrived in Kiev with his brace, including a stunning overhead kick.

As sore as that defeat still is for LFC supporters, though, the 33-year-old may be right in insinuating that big-game experience can count for a lot when it comes to such occasions.

When the shoe was on the other foot a year later, Liverpool learned from the pain of 2018 to get the better of Tottenham in Madrid and win a sixth European Cup, whereas Spurs appeared to wilt in their first-ever final in the competition.

Bale’s team handled the occasion better that night five years ago, though we can’t help but wonder whether it may have turned out differently were it not for Sergio Ramos’ shameful hatchet job on Mo Salah.

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