The Welshman who has had a stop-start career with Los Blancos made the decisive impact off the bench as they scripted yet more history.
Real Madrid completed an unprecedented hat-trick of UEFA Champions League titles when they defeated Liverpool 3-1 at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadiumin Kiev on Saturday. It was an amazing brace from super-sub Gareth Bale which brought the Los Blancos their 13th Champions League title after Sadio Mane had equalized in response to Karim Benzema’s freak opening goal.
So let’s take a look at the player ratings for the UEFA Champions League 2017/18 final.
Keylor Navas- 6.0
The Costa Rican proved his worth in the Real Madrid team by giving another very sound performance. Navas made a great save off Trent Alexander-Arnold’s powerful shot in the first half and kept his side in the game by showing a clean pair of hands. He also dealt with Liverpool’s bullying tactics on set-pieces pretty well, but could’ve done better when it came to Mane’s goal from a corner.
Dani Carvajal- 6.0
Carvajal started the game pretty well and was showing himself to be a threat on the right wing, where he often overlapped to put pressure on the Liverpool defense. He contained the dangerous Sadio Mane pretty well, but an unlucky injury after the half an hour mark have probably ended his World Cup dreams.
Watch: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool UCL final highlights
Raphael Varane- 7/10
Raphael Varane proved his talent by giving a dominant performance at the back for Los Blancos. Coming up against a terrorizing attack, he showed a lot of maturity when it came to distributing the ball and often made crunching tackles to win back possession for his side. He kept the threat of Roberto Firmino at bay and isolated the Brazilian towards the 2nd half.
Sergio Ramos- 6.0
The Real Madrid captain was quite the controversial figure of the night because of his involvement in Mohammed Salah’s injury, but he had a decent game at the back overall. While Ramos might have made a few rash challenges, he led from the front at the center of defense and marshalled his troops really well. Should’ve done better about containing Dejan Lovren for the goal.
A constant threat for his side in the attacking front, Marcelo almost played the whole game as a left-winger for Los Blancos. He was a constant threat to them in the flank and made some dating runs forward which pegged back the Reds. His crossing was intact and he actually delivered a pretty good right-foot cross which allowed Gareth Bale to score that incredible goal.
Much like his Brazilian compatriot, Casemiro had another very solid outing in the center of midfield. While he didn’t act in the rash manner in he did in some previous games, Casemiro held the midfield line really well for Los Blancos and did not crumble under the constant pressure from Liverpool. His distribution was on point and he turned up when needed to clear danger and win back possession for his side.
Toni Kroos- 6.5
The German midfielder didn’t have the best night of his career but proved his class by retaining possession really well for his side. He often dropped back really deep to help his defense with distribution and play out of the back, while also making a few important challenges to assert dominance in the midfield battle.
Luka Modric- 8.0
The former Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder looked pumped for the occasion and gave a masterclass in dominating the opposition in a midfield battle. Modric looked in absolute prime form as he wheezed past the Liverpool defenders and never seemed to lose focus. His passing was really sleek as he found the gaps and ushered his team forward, while also completing his defensive duties perfectly. Modric had a 100% tackling success on the day and did not miss-time a single pass, with his masterclass winning Madrid the midfield battle.
Isco was chosen over Gareth Bale for the 2nd consecutive Champions League final but failed to prove himself on the day where he had a rather poor game for Los Blancos. He had a shot saved well by Karius, but the Spanish midfielder was rather ineffective which forced Zidane to take him off after the hour mark.
Cristiano Ronaldo- 5.5
The Balon d’Or winner didn’t really have the best final in recent years. It was seemingly after the substitution of Mo Salah that his game fell even more and even though he did have a terrific header saved by Karius, he was judged offside for that. Ronaldo came into the game more in the second half but was contained well by Liverpool’s defenders.
Karim Benzema- 8.0
The Frenchman had a terrific game in attack where he roamed the flanks and made everything happen for Los Blancos. Benzema worked really hard throughout the game and finally reaped his reward thanks to a gift from Karius. He proved why he’s so valued by Zidane by being a menace for Liverpool’s defense and giving another energetic performance in attack.
Gareth Bale- 9.0
Snubbed from the starting XI, Bale had a point to prove and he did so magnificently. Scored one of the best goals ever with his acrobatic effort from just inside the box to give Madrid the lead and was lucky to get another when his long-range shot scuffled into the net. Deserved the man of the match award for an amazing supersub appearance.
Bale was the man of the moment for Los Blancos
Nacho was made to drift into the right-back’s role after Carvajal’s injury and did pretty well in that department. He gave a decent performance in which he mostly contained the dangerous Robertson and made sure Liverpool couldn’t penetrate through his flank.
Marco Asensio- N/A
Was brought in for the last few minutes.
Loris Karius- 3.0
The German goalkeeper had an absolute nightmare in between the posts. While he gave some decent saves in the first half, everything crumbled for him in the 2nd half when he gifted Benzema a goal through a hilarious error. Karius made things worse when he diverted a powerful shot from Bale right into the goal, summing up a horrible night for him.
Trent Alexander-Arnold- 6.5
The young right-back showed immense maturity at such a big stage and contained the dangerous Madrid attack pretty well. He made some crunch tackles and marked Isco pretty well on his flank, while also proving decent in attack when he had a powerful shot saved by Navas in the first half.
Dejan Lovren- 6.5
Despite being mocked by many, Lovren proved his worth by giving a solid performance at the center of defense. He marked Ronaldo out of the game on many occasions and gave his side hope when his towering header met Mane’s feet to equalize the game.
Virgil van Dijk- 6.0
Virgil van Dijk was a powerful figure in Liverpool’s defense and dealt with Los Blancos’ threat pretty well. Couldn’t really do anything to stop the goals, but contained both Ronaldo and Benzema pretty well and established his authority with some important challenges.
Andrew Robertson- 6.0
The young left-back gave another compelling performance in which he gave it all for his team. Robertson often marauded forward with intent and put in some dangerous crosses, while his defensive work was also very sound. Made an amazing goal-saving challenge in the late minutes to save his side from more humiliation.
Jordan Henderson- 6.0
Henderson proved to be a solid captain for Liverpool as he showed real intent and riving his team forward. While he had a difficult task ahead of him, Henderson gave a strong performance in which he retained possession many times and got in a few crunching tackles to try and motivate his team-mates.
James Milner- 5.5
Milner failed to show the immense influence he had on Liverpool’s game throughout the campaign and was isolated by Los Blancos. He failed to create anything for them and was unable to make his mark in midfield where he struggled to take the ball off the Madrid midfielders and was visibly tired in the 2nd half.
Georginio Wijnaldum- 5.5
Wijnaldum was probably the most ineffective amongst the Liverpool midfielder and looked quite lost in the middle. He couldn’t cope with the impressive distribution of Los Blancos and failed to take the ball off their midfield trio despite constant attempts. Provided little in the attacking front and was left disappointed in the end.
Roberto Firmino- 6.0
Roberto Firmino had a quiet night in front of goal
The Brazilian showed a lot of intent going forward but couldn’t produce the goods he’s usually come up with in the CL campaign. He looked a bit lost without Mohammed Salah at his side and failed to synchronize with the new system. Had a few chances, but failed to rise to the occasion in this big match.
Mohammed Salah- 5.0
The Egyptian magician looked quite dangerous in the early minutes when he threatened to break open Los Blancos’ defense on multiple occasions. But he had a heart-breaking end to his finale when forced to go off after sustaining an injury which puts his World Cup dreams in doubts as well.
1 – Sadio Mané is the first Senegalese ???????? player in European Cup/Champions League history to score in a final. Critical. pic.twitter.com/3QzdvV0isz
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 26, 2018
Sadio Mane- 7.5
While Liverpool missed the services of Salah, Sadio Mane was the force which kept them moving forward. He created many opportunities for them before taking matters into his own hands when he scored the equalizer for them. He also hit the post after a terrific long-ranger and was unlucky to be on the losing end.
Adam Lallana- 5.5
The winger had to fill the void left by Mohammed Salah and seem humbled by the occasion as he failed to do anything memorable.
Emre Can- N/A
Was brought to provide some energy to Liverpool’s midfield, but his mind already looks to be thinking about playing at Turin next season.