8. Thibaut Courtois vs Liverpool (2022)
Iker Casillas posted a tweet after the match saying it has been a long time since he saw such a decisive performance from a goalkeeper in a Champions League final. Of course, Saint Iker’s very own performance against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final has attained legendary status. But it is hard to argue against the fact that Courtois’s exemplary display of shot-stopping against Liverpool will be remembered as the best goal-keeping performance in a Champions League final.
Liverpool kept coming hard at him with shots flying around from all over the 30-yard circle. But Courtois kept standing there like a human wall. After Salah’s umpteenth attempt to get past Courtois failed in the 75th minute, he banged the floor with his hand as if to concede defeat. You could not blame Salah for trying till the very end. We have witnessed players from all across Spain try against the Belgian giant this season but he has been an unmovable force.
Hopefully, the FourFourTwo magazine will find a place for Real Madrid’s goalkeeper in their top ten list next season!
7. Gareth Bale vs Liverpool (2018)
Gareth Bale has had a tumultuous career with Real Madrid. In the past few years, controversies have overshadowed his immense contribution to Real Madrid’s Champions League legacy. His induction to the side in 2013 catapulted Real Madrid to the European glory. He turned an excellent Real Madrid into a lethal team capable of achieving everything and anything.
Gareth Bale has had his fair share of ups and downs. However, nothing symbolizes his career more than the overhead bicycle kick against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League. He was substituted onto the field and altered the course of the game single-handedly just when Liverpool was starting to dominate.
It is unfortunate to see Bale’s career dwindling in an unsavory manner. But the fact remains, Real Madrid would not achieve the unprecedented feat of three consecutive Champions League and four in five years without his contributions.