Ryan Giggs described Gareth Bale as “the greatest Welsh player I’ve seen” after the Real Madrid star’s stunning Champions League final goal against Liverpool.
Bale scored twice – the first with a gravity-defying bicycle kick when the score was 1-1 – after coming on as a 61st-minute substitute in Real’s 3-1 win in Kiev.
The 28-year-old now has four Champions League winners’ medal from five seasons in Spain, equalling the British record of former Liverpool and England full-back Phil Neal, who was part of European Cup-winning teams at Anfield in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“He’s the greatest Welsh player I’ve seen,” Wales manager Giggs said.
“Obviously I didn’t see John Charles play and many others around that time.
“But great players turn up at the right moments and make the difference, and he’s done it twice now in Champions League finals.
“And to win four, to go to Real Madrid, and be so successful, he’s got to be (the best).”
Meanwhile, Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum admits injury to Mohamed Salah so early in the final, affected their performance.
The match was goalless but Jurgen Klopp’s side were in the ascendency until midway through the first half when they lost their 44-goal forward with a shoulder injury after falling in a tangle with Sergio Ramos.
Liverpool’s players struggled to adjust and Real took advantage, partly thanks to two errors by goalkeeper Loris Karius and Bale’s stunning overhead kick.
“I think it was a big blow for us,” said Wijnaldum.
“I think when he was on the pitch we did it well for 25 minutes but after the injury there was less than before.”