Zidane’s volley that sealed the ‘ninth’ turns 18

Real Madrid commemorates this Friday the 18 years of a legendary goal for its meaning and plasticity. The unforgettable volley of Zinedine Zidane at Glasgow Hampden Park allowed Real Madrid to prevail over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League final played on May 15, 2002 and add the ninth ‘orejona’ for the showcases of the Chamartín club.

It was a bit of an anthology that definitively elevated the Marseille midfielder to the pantheon of legends of Real Madrid and that the magazine ‘France Football’ recently designated as the “most beautiful” goal in the history of the maximum continental competition. A compendium of «balance, delicacy, power», according to the prestigious French publication, which surpassed in the ranking that the Italian Mauro Bressan scored for Barcelona with the elastic of Fiorentina in a match of the first phase of the 1999 course -2000 played at the Artemio Franchi in the Tuscan city, when connecting a volley from outside the area that entered by the squad of the frame that Francesc Arnau defended, or the Chilean with which Cristiano Ronaldo surrendered to Juventus Stadium in the first leg matchup of the 2017-2018 Champions League that measured Real Madrid with the ‘Vecchia Signora’.

It was the 44th minute of the clash between Real Madrid and a Bayer Leverkusen that frightened players such as the Brazilian Lucio, the Argentine Diego Placente, the German Michael Ballack or the Swiss nationalized German Oliver Neuville, when Roberto Carlos picked up a faulty pass from Santiago Solari and released a forced cross that fell from the sky so that Zidane, in the vertical of the area, hooked it with an acrobatic turn and put the leather in the net of the goal that Jörg Butt guarded.

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“Many people say it was a terrible pass and I think it was perfect because it landed on Zizou’s left foot with which he was able to hit the ball,” recalled the left-back. “He scored a beautiful goal, but if it wasn’t for that pass, if the pass had not been so perfect … That pass was terrible!” The Brazilian joked later.

A historic goal

The whites had gone ahead in that final with a Raúl’s cunning boast, who took advantage of a throw-in by Roberto Carlos to open the scoring after 8 minutes. But Lucio tied the game five minutes later, heading off a free kick taken by Bernd Schneider.

Despite their lack of experience in a Champions League final, Bayer Leverkusen fared with ardor and a good game against the team he led Vicente del Bosque. The Teutonic team had several occasions to beat Caesar again, with no luck for the Germans. But when the break appeared, Zidane burst in to sign a historic goal.

The second half would turn into waste the new attacks of the German team, denied in a final heart attack by the formidable interventions by Iker Casillas, who relieved in the 68th minute an injured César to sign several anthological stops that ended up sealing the ‘ninth’.

A trophy, whose achievement is now 18 years old, which will be forever marked by Zidane’s goal that amazed the planet and inaugurated the idyll with the Champions of Marseille, who would achieve another as assistant to Carlo Ancelotti in the final against Atlético played in Lisbon in 2014 and three more consecutive ones as head coach in 2016 (in Milan, again with Atlético as runner-up), 2017 (in Cardiff, where Real Madrid prevailed over Juventus) and 2018 (in Kiev, where the Whites beat Liverpool).

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