Le but de l’année raconté par Gareth Bale



Gareth Bale a illuminé la finale de la Ligue des Champions en mai. Il n’a peut-être pas remporté le prix Puskas 2018 mais de notre avis, il a incontestablement inscrit le plus beau but de l’année….

Parfois, le public se trompe. Mohamed Salah a mis un joli but contre Everton mais ce n’était évidemment pas le plus beau but de l’année. Dans notre esprit, celui inscrit par Benjamin Pavard contre l’Argentine en Coupe du Monde est plus spectaculaire… et chargé d’émotion. Mais le plus beau de tous a eu lieu en finale de la Ligue des Champions, vous vous en souvenez forcément.

Entré en jeu à Kiev en remplacement d’Isco à la 61eme minute de jeu, alors que le score était de 1-1, Bale n’a mis que trois minutes pour faire la Une de l’actualité et de l’histoire.
« Marcelo a récupéré le ballon sur le coté gauche puis a piqué vers l’intérieur sur son pied droit, ce qu’il essaie de faire de temps en temps, explique Bale à FourFourTwo. Je savais qu’il était sur le point de centrer mais quand la balle est arrivée, elle était légèrement derrière moi. »

Bale s’est mis en position, faisant un pas en arrière pour pouvoir couper la trajectoire du ballon. « Je savais qu’il serait très difficile de faire un demi-tour et de contrôler le ballon, explique-t-il. J’avais tenté des frappes dans cette position à plusieurs reprises à l’entraînement mais même si j’avais failli marquer, je n’avais jamais vraiment réussi. »

Cette fois cependant, le magicien gallois a réussi, effectuant un retourné acrobatique et catapultant le ballon hors de portée du gardien Loris Karius. Le timing parfait. « C’était instinctif, dit-il. J’ai bien positionné mon corps et effectué mon jeu de jambes puis j’ai parfaitement tapé le ballon. Quand vous tapez parfaitement la balle, vous savez qu’elle est dans le cadre. Tu dois juste espérer que le gardien ne va pas faire un sauvetage incroyable. Dès que je l’ai touchée, j’ai su qu’il y avait une chance de but. Si vous regardez en arrière, vous pouvez voir ma tête tourner tout de suite. Je savais où allait le ballon. »

Steven Gerrard : « Une chance sur un million »

Bale a atterri lourdement sur le gazon mais dans les moments d’euphorie, les réceptions font moins mal. Il s’est même suffisamment bien rétabli pour marquer un deuxième but grâce à la maladresse de Karius. « J’ai atterri assez fort mais dans ces situations, on ne réfléchit pas beaucoup à l’atterrissage, rit Bale. J’allais bien. » C’était un moment de splendeur qui a mis un coup derrière la tête aux joueurs de Liverpool, un coup particulièrement mortel lors de cette finale après la sortie précoce de Salah qui s’était blessé à l’épaule.

« Il a été décisif, évidemment, surtout avec cette bicyclette, a déclaré plus tard Jurgen Klopp, l’entraîneur de Liverpool, à propos du geste acrobatique de Bale. C’était un but fantastique, un but incroyable. » « C’est le plus beau et le plus important but de la saison, s’est réjoui pour sa part Rio Ferdinand dans le studio de BT Sports à la fin du match. C’est le plus beau but que j’ai vu dans ma vie et à ce moment d’un match aussi important, vous n’auriez jamais pu l’imaginer. »

Aux côtés de l’ancien défenseur de Manchester United, Steven Gerrard, le légendaire joueur de Liverpool, a vu ses ex-coéquipiers perdre 3-1 mais s’est montré très élogieux au sujet du but de Bale. « Il avait une chance sur un million », s’enthousiasme l’ancien milieu de terrain des Reds, avant de gonfler les joues et d’ajouter : « Je n’aurais même pas essayé de faire ça ». Pour un joueur connu pour avoir marqué des buts spectaculaires à Anfield, c’est un sacré compliment.

Un peu plus tôt la saison dernière, Bale avait réussi une volée magistrale contre le Borussia Dortmund lors d’un match de groupe de Ligue des Champions. Mais c’était un autre contexte. « C’est vrai, je suis d’accord, il n’y en a pas eu beaucoup des comme ça, confesse le Gallois ! En plus, c’était la finale de la Ligue des Champions, le match le plus important de l’année donc effectivement, je dois avouer que c’est le plus beau de ma carrière. » Le plus beau de sa carrière sans doute mais pas le plus beau de l’année pour ceux qui ont voté pour la FIFA.

« Oui, pour être honnête, j ai été surpris, dit-il en riant. Que pouvez-vous dire ? Le prix prend du coup moins d’intérêt, même si Salah a visiblement marqué un beau but. » Avec le départ de Cristiano Ronaldo de Madrid cet été, la pression sera plus sur Bale dans les grands rendez-vous. Heureusement, il semble avoir de bons antécédents.

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