Belfast Telegraph

Super Mario's strike was child's play but Macca puts his foot in it

By Billy Weir

I was never a huge Subbuteo fan as a child, I could never quite get my head around the ball being bigger than the players and I preferred the cut and thrust of Striker instead.

However, had I been brought up in Liverpool and hung around with Steve McManaman then things could have been very much different, although the sight of me in a cream suit would have people wondering if the wee lad from Fantasy Island was back on the scene.

I digress. McManaman, not a cream suit in sight, was the co-commentator in Saturday night's Champions' League Final on BT Sport and, like the rest of us, was gobsmacked by the sheer affrontery of Mario Mandzukic's leveller for Juventus against Real Madrid.

An airborne attack was launched in an effort to cancel out the fabulous Cristiano Ronaldo's opener, which was as text-book a Subbuteo goal as you could wish to see, all along the floor and then hammered home, although thankfully avoiding the greatest pain known to man, setting a slipperless foot on your substitute.

So it went, in the air, from Dani Alves to Alex Sandro to Higuain to Mandzukic and one mad overhead kick later the ball was in the net and commentator Darren Fletcher was losing the run of himself, or perhaps impersonating Chrissie Hynde.

"Ohhhh, that's special, that is so special," he said, and McManaman, giving us another glimpse into his childhood, added 'Super Mario to the rescue', that was fair enough, but then came the confusion with 'it was like Subbuteo football'.

It wasn't Steve, it wasn't, unless you had the special levitation edition, but even then it would be a nightmare to keep all the players in place and not even Super Mario could rescue that.

As it happened it will go down as possibly the greatest losing goal of all time, or as presenter Gary Lineker described it at half-time, foot volleyball. But it mattered little as Real scored three more goals in the second-half to win the trophy for a ridiculous 12th time.

"They are the first team to retain the trophy in the modern era, they really are the Real deal," concluded Lineker, while back in the studio McManaman was trying to explain to Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard how the other three goals were like Buckaroo, Guess Who and Ker-Plunk.

Belfast Telegraph

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