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Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale has said he would have been a more deserving winner of this year’s FIFA’s Puskas goal of the year award than actual claimant Mo Salah.

Bale’s spectacular overhead kick was the second goal in Madrid’s 3-1 victory over Liverpool in last season’s Champions League final. However Puskas voters among the public went for the Egypt international’s goal for the Reds against Everton in December 2017’s Premier League Merseyside derby.

On winning FourFourTwo magazine’s goal of the year award, Bale said that Salah’s victory had “diminished” the status of the Puskas award.

“Yeah, I was surprised by that, to be honest,” the Wales international said. “What can you say?

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

Bale, 29, denied there had been any good fortune involved in his goal against Liverpool, when he acrobatically met Marcelo’s cross and powered the ball past goalkeeper Loris Karius.

“It was instinctive,” Bale said. “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.”

The former Tottenham player accepted it was the best goal of his career to date, especially considering the setting.

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring against Liverpool in the Champions League final
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring against Liverpool in the Champions League final.

“I think you’d have to say that,” he said. “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.”

Bale also missed out on the award for best goal in last season’s Champions League, with his former Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo’s similar bicycle kick against Juventus in the quarterfinals chosen by UEFA’s expert panel.

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