"When you're a little boy you dream of lifting the Champions League, and to lift the tenth one for Real Madrid is special," Gareth Bale told UEFA.com after his pivotal role in Lisbon.
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With ten minutes to go in UEFA Champions League final extra time, Gareth Bale struck a goal that set Real Madrid CF on the way to their long-held dream of a tenth European title.
It had not seemed that way when Club Atlético de Madrid led 1-0 deep into added time, but Sergio Ramos headed an equaliser and then in the extra half-hour, Bale and Co took control. The Welsh forward's 110th-minute goal was the killer blow, added to late on by Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo for a 4-1 success; Bale, less than one year since joining Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur FC, spoke to UEFA.com about the victory.
UEFA.com: How does it feel?
Gareth Bale: It's an amazing feeling to win the Champions League. And yes, it was a hard fought game, they made it very difficult for us, but yes, we showed our character that we've got in the team and eventually we were able to win.
UEFA.com: It was tough in the first half; Atlético were really pressing high, and you had problems with creating spaces and creating chances...
Bale: Yes, definitely. That's the type of team they are, they like to defend very solidly and not give you too much space, but luckily we kept grinding away and grinding away, and got that goal that we needed. That gave us the momentum then to go on and win.
UEFA.com: What did you think when you saw the defensive mistake and the goal for Atlético?
Bale: It happens: it's one of those things in football, mistakes do happen. But we had to show our character and we all pulled through together. We all worked hard as a team for the whole game; it's shone through and we were able to get that goal right at the last. That gave us the momentum to go and win in extra time.
UEFA.com: Did you think that it would be possible to score that goal in the 93rd minute?
Bale: We always were praying that we'd get a goal, and it was obviously great that we did. We left it late, but it made it that extra bit more special.
UEFA.com: What about you, you had about four or five chances, and they kept being missed, and finally you scored!
Bale: Yes, it happens in football; you have days where you just miss a few chances, but the most important thing is that you don't let it hit your confidence. You just keep going, keep trying, keep shooting, and thankfully one went in in the end.
UEFA.com: At the end you were all very tired, but I imagine the joy gave you an extra spark?
Bale: Definitely. It was a difficult extra time, everybody was tired, but we showed our character again, and we were able to lift ourselves for the last 30 minutes. We got the momentum and got a few goals to win the trophy.
UEFA.com: When you lifted the trophy, what crossed your mind?
Bale: A dream come true, literally.
When you're a little boy you dream of lifting the Champions League, and to lift the tenth one for Real Madrid is special. It's one that will go down in history.