“I tried to score the same way again later, even during shooting an advertisement. But it never happened again. Never. I tried in training, but it never happened. It was perfect the day it happened”.

 

Zinedine Zidane

Magic moment!

It gives sports a different flavour.

It is always gifted by the magicians of the sports.

These magicians exist in each and every sport.

A carnival of football

It was one of those nights of UEFA Champions League, where two teams named Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen were contesting to become the best in Europe.

Glasgow was the venue where European Football’s elites were joined by the King of Spain, German Vice-Chancellor and former James Bond actor Sean Connery. Michel Platini, Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Gerard Houllier, and Fabio Capello were also there, as were players from the 1960 Hampden European Cup final when Real Madrid beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3. Also, the members of Celtic’s 1967 Lisbon Lions team were present.

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The fans of Los Blancos, Bayer, and the locals started the party from the City Center and brought it all the way to Hampden Park. The drums continued to beat, the music went on and the roar of the crowd could be heard from many corners of the world.

Bayer and Real meet each other

In that season, Klaus Toppmoller’s Bayer were no easy opponents. Their advancement to the finals was no fluke. Players like Michael Ballack, Lucio, Bernd Schneider, and Dimitar Barbatov provided the much-needed cutting-edge, which helped them to counter against the top opponents of Europe in the knockout stages. Even though the Los Blancos were regarded as the favourites, still, Bayer ensured, they would not make things easy for the Spanish Giants.

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Meanwhile, in La Liga, Real Madrid, were really having a bad time. They finished third in La Liga behind Valencia and Deportivo la Coruna and had also lost to Deportivo in the Copa del Rey final. In his first season at Real Madrid, the superstar of World Cup 1998, Zinedine Zidane was not satisfied at all. He came to Santiago Bernabeu to win something big for Real Madrid. He tested defeat while playing for Juventus in the previous two Champions League Finals, but at Glasgow, he was in no mood to taste the same.

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Raul gave Real the lead, but it was canceled a few minutes later.

The first-half had been a pedestrian one with the Los Blancos coming under pressure a bit. Both teams threatened sporadically, but there had been little more half chances as the game seemed to be fading towards the break.

At the stroke of halftime, the magical moment arrived!

The setup

Roberto Carlos discovered himself with a bit of space on the left. He noticed that Santiago Solari was following up to exploit space in front of Bayer full-back Zoltan Sebescen.

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Solari had to clear serious amount of distance to outweigh his rival – received the ball and on the momentum caught Sebescen falt-footed. Solari passed the ball to Carlos, who by then, had beaten Sebescen with pace, provided a looping cross in the center.

The one in a million moment

Zidane was watching the setup and advanced forward in the center. He watched the looping cross and did not act hastily but waited for the ball to drop from the air and reach at a point from where he could attempt a volley towards the goal.  Meanwhile, Ballack started to run behind Zidane and before he could reach, Zidane had made a Z-like volley, which hit the Bayer nets – one in a million moments.

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Such things don’t happen every day and only the special players can make it happen. Zidane is one of those precious gems of world football, who was able to unleash magic and script that one-in-a-million moment on the football pitch.

No marker. No rock-solid defence. No best goalkeeper. No force could have been able to stop that iconic volley from Zidane on that night in Glasgow.

In the second-half, Fernando Morientes twice went close for Real with Bayer producing some close moments as well as Butt, up for Schneider’s free-kick, headed wide and Casillas kept out a rising shot from Basturk and then a shot and a header from Dimitar Berbatov.

In the end, Real won their ninth Champions League title.

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Zidane’s wish to win it big for Real came true.

All he needed was a big stage.

“Any football lovers, not just Madridistas, would have enjoyed that goal”

Raul

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