The Welsh wizard had been on the pitch for just three minutes as a substitute when he settled the Kiev showpiece against Liverpool in spectacular style, acrobatically converting Marcelo’s cross to seal a third successive European crown for Los Blancos.
The ball had barely hit Loris Karius’s net before fans were debating whether it was an even better volley than his manager’s in the 2002 final against Bayer Leverkusen.
However, Bale reveals that the two men didn’t have their own post-match discussion and haven’t spoken at all following Zidane’s departure from the Bernabeu dugout, which was announced just five days after Madrid’s Champions League triumph.
Speaking exclusively in the March 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, he says: “He didn’t talk to me about it – I still haven’t spoken to him since. Our relationship was good. I wouldn’t say we were best mates, it was just a normal professional relationship.”
Been there before
Victory in Kiev was Bale’s fourth Champions League success in five seasons, and the second in a row which he started on the bench.
The 29-year-old was grateful for a cameo in home town Cardiff 12 months earlier after battling back from injury, but admits he was irked not to make the cut against Liverpool after finishing the season with a flourish.
“I was really frustrated not to start,” he says. “I’d played pretty well since coming back from the last little niggle I’d had in December. I scored five goals in my last four league games of the season and felt like I deserved to be involved from the start.
“I was desperate to get onto that pitch. When I ran on I was still a bit angry, and that’s probably why I did what I did next.
“I’ve watched the goal back a couple of times. I didn’t feel like I had a point to prove – I wanted to do it for myself and the team. If you play in any final you want to be going home with the trophy, no matter what it takes. If it meant waiting to come on for the last 30 minutes, so be it.”
Read the full in-depth interview with Gareth Bale in the March 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, which also features exclusive chats with Jadon Sancho, Edin Dzeko and Andriy Shevchenko. Plus we present our six-point plan to become an incredible interim manager, visit QPR as they hope to banish their FA Cup Third Round hoodoo, go One-on-One with Nigel Winterburn and hear from football’s ultimate journeyman, Sebastian Abreu.