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  Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 00:42 GMT 01:42 UK
Legendary Zidane
Zidane celebrates his wonder goal
Zidane celebrates his wonder goal

Zinedine Zidane's name now stands alongside Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano as Real Madrid legends who stamped their names on Hampden Park history.

Zidane scored a left-foot volley as the first half of the Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen edged into injury time.

His goal stands comparison with the feats of the Real Madrid legends of yesteryear, who claimed the old trophy on the same turf 42 years ago.

The quietly-spoken France superstar was almost embarrassed as he was asked to talk through the winning goal in the 2-1 triumph against Germany's Bayer Leverkusen.


It was a goal that was spectacular, difficult and aesthetic
Vicente del Bosque
He said: "I had a pass from Roberto Carlos and slammed it in. It was a very nice volley."

Simple.

It was like Diego Maradona describing his 1986 goal for Argentina against England as a neat finish or Gordon Banks explaining away his save against Pele in 1970 as a routine stop.

Zidane's magic moment will take its place in Champions League folklore, a simple cross transformed in a classic piece of football technique and artistry with a perfectly balanced volley that flew past Jorg Butt.

It summed up the intriguing mixture of economy and excellence that made Zidane the outstanding performer in the 2002 Champions League Final.

In cricketing terms, Zidane played himself in for the first 20 minutes before unleashing his full range of strokes - and what elegant strokes they were.

Zidane with the Champions League trophy
Zidane with the Champions League trophy
He cast his presence over a Real Madrid machine in which all moving parts appear to be interchangeable.

Zidane with ball at his feet is an image of amazing grace, whether he is running at the heart of an opposing defence or playing as an auxiliary winger.

He is the world's most complete footballer, a consummate professional.

Zidane's display was in sharp contrast to Luis Figo, the man he succeeded as the world's most expensive player last summer.

Figo was a diving, mediocre figure in comparison to Zidane, and was rightly removed in place of Steve McManaman on the hour.

Something special

Zidane was, quite simply, the difference between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen.

And Real coach Vicente del Bosque was swift to acknowledge the debt as he said: "It was a goal that was spectacular, difficult and aesthetic."

Bayer counterpart Klaus Toppmoller added: "We can spend all the time on the training ground planning for Real's tactics, but then something special happens that you cannot plan for and in this case it was Zidane's goal."

Real were also indebted to goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who produced a virtuoso 24 minute performance to keep Bayer at bay.

He saved brilliantly from Dimitar Berbatov and Yildiray Basturk in a frantic seven minutes of injury time that came when first choice Real keeper Cesar was being treated for the ankle injury that ended his Champions League final.

And coach Del Bosque was lavish in his praise of Casillas, who was left in tears in the final whistle.

Del Bosque said: "Casillas has been out of the team but has been working with the same dedication and obsession.

"He has kept silent throughout his months out of the team when he was not comfortable, but remained a great professional.

Casillas may have made the saves - but Zidane was the man who made the difference.


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