Gareth Bale celebrates his goal, which was the game-winner in Real Madrid's 4-1 Champions League triumph over Atletico Madrid. (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Gareth Bale started the 2013-14 season as the world's priciest player after fetching a world-record transfer fee from Real Madrid to pry him from Tottenham. He's ended the season as a Champions League hero, and the one to finally land the Spanish club it's ever-elusive Decima.
Bale's go-ahead header in the second period of extra time clinched Real Madrid's come-from-behind, 4-1 triumph over city rival Atletico Madrid at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, giving Real Madrid its record 10th European Cup. Argentine attacking maestro Angel di Maria sparked the play with a fantastic individual effort down the left channel, splitting a pair of defenders before putting a ball on frame.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois got a touch on it, but the rebound lingered in the air long enough for Bale to measure his run and tuck a leaping header inside the near post as his momentum took him away from goal. Marcelo added a third for Real Madrid, and Cristiano Ronaldo tacked on a penalty kick in the waning moments to ice the victory, one which could only take place after Sergio Ramos' header in the third minute of second-half stoppage time canceled out Diego Godin's opener.
As for Bale, he proved his worth for Real Madrid when it mattered most. Saturday's header was the second trophy-winning goal he scored this season. His memorable individual effort vs. Barcelona clinched the Copa del Rey at the expense of the club's other rival.
Watch his most recent-trophy winner below (via Fox Soccer):