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    Gareth Bale: I Should Have Won Puskas Award Instead Of Salah

    Gareth Bale has admitted that he was "surprised" that Mohamed Salah won the FIFA Puskas Award ahead of him this year.

    It's been another year of memorable moments for Wales and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale. The biggest highlight for the 29-year-old will have undoubtedly been the goal he scored in the Champions League final. The former Spurs star came off the bench to put in a man of the match performance as his two goals helped Madrid life their fourth Champions League title in five years.

    Image source via zimbio.com

    The most eye-catching moment for Bale was, of course, his incredible first goal of the night. Bale had only been on the field for three minutes when he produced the unlikeliest of strikes: an overhead kick from the edge of the area which flew past Liverpool's Loris Karius and into the top corner of the net. It was a truly breathtaking goal from Bale and came at such a crucial time in what is the biggest match in club football.

    "It was instinctive," Bale said of the goal in a recent interview. "I got my body positioned correctly, got my footwork right, and caught it perfectly.
    "When you catch the ball perfectly, you know it's on target. You just have to hope the keeper doesn't make an unbelievable save. So, as soon as I hit it, I knew it had a chance of going in. If you watch it, you see my head turn straight away. I knew where the ball was going."

    So, it seemed like a sure thing that Bale would win an individual award to complement his medal from the tournament. There was more than a considerable amount of surprise when FIFA announced that the recipient of this year's Puskas Award the trophy for the best goal of the year would not be Gareth Bale's overhead kick but instead it would be going to Mohamed Salah for his strike against Everton in the Premier League last season.

    "Yeah, I was surprised by that, to be honest," Bale admitted. "What can you say?

    "It makes the award look a little diminished, although it was obviously a great goal by Salah."

    Image source via zimbio.com

    Salah's goal certainly was impressive. The Liverpool man had the season of a lifetime for Jurgen Klopp's side, scoring 44 goals in 52 matches in his debut season for the club. His strike against Everton was certainly an eye-catching one but it may not even be the best goal Mohamed Salah scored last season.

    The FIFA Puskas Award was first launched back in 2009 to honour the "most beautiful" goal of the year. Named after the late Real Madrid and Hungary forward, Ferenc Puskas, previous recipients of the trophy include Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and James Rodriguez. Last year's trophy was won by Olivier Giroud for his unusual scorpion kick goal for Arsenal in a Premier League match against Crystal Palace.

    FIFA announced the list of ten nominees in early September but the voting process was left up to the general public. It was far from an impartial process as fans from around the world voted in droves for the popular Salah. Liverpool and Salah personally attracted a great deal of sympathy from the football world after the match was settled by Bale's goal, one which he ranks as the best of his career.

    "I think you'd have to say that," he replied when asked. "There haven't been too many like that!

    "I did love the one in the [2014] Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, but as this one was on such a big stage - the Champions League final, the biggest game in club football - and technically it was the winner, I'd have to say that it's the best."

    Image source via zimbio.com

    It seems unlikely that Real Madrid will lift the Champions League title for an incredible fourth consecutive time in May of next year. They are the 10/1 outsiders on Betway as of 5 December to lift the trophy following the loss of key man Cristiano Ronaldo and some below-par performances in La Liga.

    Still, a team can never be counted out when Gareth Bale is playing for them with the Wales international always capable of producing wonderful moments of individual quality. Hopefully next time he will get the individual recognition his efforts deserve.

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    Posted: Friday 7th December 2018
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