If Gareth Bale set out to prove a point in Kiev on Saturday, he absolutely succeeded in his mission.
Bale's absence from the Real Madrid starting XI for their Champions League final clash with Liverpool will have hurt.
The Wales international has been frustrated at not being a first-team fixture at Madrid this season, and having to take a place on the bench for a second successive final will have come as a test of patience and character, even for a man so supremely confident in his own ability.
Bale did not warm up with the rest of his team-mates before the match but was called upon after an hour with the scores level at 1-1 – Sadio Mane having produced a swift response to Karim Benzema's fortuitous opener early in the second half.
Whatever the reason behind his pre-match no show, Bale was more than ready to perform.
It took the 28-year-old just two minutes to produce what he later acknowledged was the best goal of his career – a perfectly executed bicycle kick that swung the match back in Madrid's favour.
"On the biggest stage in world football, to score a goal like that is a dream come true," he said of the strike, which gave Loris Karius – at fault for Madrid's first – no chance.
And it was Bale who wrapped up the 3-1 win with a 25-yard strike that somehow evaded the hands of goalkeeper Karius, who had a memorable evening for all the wrong reasons.
Bale had scored five goals in five matches heading into the final and had every right to believe that he should be starting, or at least consider that he could hold down a regular first-team berth at one of Europe's other footballing heavyweights.
Those frustrations look likely to come to a head during the forthcoming transfer window. Either Bale receives assurances over his place in the team or there is a genuine possibility his heroic performance from the bench could be his final act for Madrid.
Bale was pressed several times on the prospect of a departure after the match and his response was invariably the same - that he would sit down with his agent to consider the situation.
His careful choice of words contrasted starkly with that of team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who stole the headlines by springing the surprise that he too could be considering his future with the club.
Bale has been linked with Bayern Munich, Manchester United and former club Tottenham over the last couple of seasons but there will be no shortage of sides who would love to sign a player of the Welshman's calibre.
Whether he was trying to prove a point to Zinedine Zidane, his critics or himself in Kiev on Saturday, Bale can surely have done no more to demonstrate that he still belongs on the biggest stage.
|BREAKING NEWS: Inspired Tsitsipas dethrones Federer|
|PSG´s Cavani considering career finale in Uruguay|
|Feisty Collins ready to make more noise after thrashing Kerber|
|I´ve got to work on my soccer skills! - Mavs´ Doncic didn´t know ejection rule|
|Lakers won´t rush LeBron & Rondo back despite Ball injury|
|A-League Review: Victory fightback in thriller with Wellington|
|Henry explains foul-mouthed confrontation with Strasbourg´s Lala|
|Nadal wary of ´dangerous´ Tiafoe|
|Emery ´not positive´ over Bellerin injury|
|Harden scores 48 points as Rockets rally past Lakers in OT|
|Pacquiao wants Mayweather rematch after beating Broner|
|Sharapova unimpressed with questions after Melbourne exit|
|Nadal outclasses Berdych en route to quarters|
|Collins trounces 2016 Aus Open champion Kerber|
|Sanchez: Man United thriving thanks to Solskjaer|
|Sharapova crashes out of Australian Open|
|Devils´ Palmieri replaces Hall on NHL All-Star roster|
|Tuchel stunned by PSG´s nine-goal thrashing of Guingamp|
|Modric wants to extend Real Madrid stay|
|Marotta: Icardi will re-sign, Godin wants Inter|
|´F*** no!´ - Westbrook on if he´s cool with Embiid|
|Mickelson shoots 66 to stay ahead at Desert Classic|
|Real Madrid? You never know what the future holds - PSG´s Mbappe|
|Inter lacked quality in disappointing Sassuolo draw - Spalletti|
|Walton has one goal for Lakers-Rockets matchup: Keep Harden under 50 points|
|CAF Champions League Review: Simba learn Vita lesson as Sundowns find form|
|Bayliss relishing pressure of World Cup and Ashes to finish England reign|
|Guardiola keen to keep City rhythm and challenge on four fronts|
|Fifita backs Johnson to inspire the Sharks|
|For Real Madrid, nothing is impossible - Solari refuses to give up in title race|
|Inter 0 Sassuolo 0: Spalletti´s side labour at sparse San Siro|
|Marshawn Lynch will continue playing ´if it works out´|
|Simeone excited by improving Atleti|
|Jones ´cautiously optimistic´ over Farrell ahead of Ireland clash|
|Sarri questions Chelsea motivation after Arsenal surrender|
|Emery urges Arsenal to find balance after downing Chelsea|
|Koscielny hails Arsenal fighting spirit in Chelsea win|
|Pellegrini: It was not a good idea for Arnautovic to play|
|Iran v Oman: We´re not satisfied yet, says Al Mahaijri|
|Carbery sends Munster through and ends Exeter´s lingering Champions Cup hopes|
|Dyche defiant despite offside call|
|Hasenhuttl rates Everton win as Southampton´s best|
|Benitez looking up the table after Schar inspires win over Cardiff|
|RB Leipzig 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Witsel restores six-point cushion|
|Swansea City 1 Sheffield United 0: McBurnie punishes wasteful Blades|
|Cardiff sign Sala from Nantes for club-record fee|
|Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0: Lacazette and Koscielny fire Gunners to rousing derby win|
|Huesca 0 Atletico Madrid 3: Dominant Atleti keep pressure on Barca|
|Rashford arguably league´s best striker with Kane out - Solskjaer|
|Hafeez plays steady hand as Pakistan punish Proteas´ patient approach|
|Klopp: Exceptional Salah would have scored even more up front!|
|Suspected ´serious´ Verratti injury leaves Tuchel with mixed emotions|
|We needed to rediscover our best form - Ramos pleased for Real Madrid fans|
|City bought Guardiola four full-backs! - Mourinho aims dig at Man Utd transfer policy|
|Valverde ´not frustrated´ amid De Jong & Vela links|
|Championship Review: Leaders Leeds beaten at Stoke as Villa end Hull run|
|Bournemouth rode their luck, admits Howe|
|Barca boss Valverde calls for clarity on RFEF rules|
|Bears rack up 107 points in routing Enisei en route to quarter-finals|
|Paris Saint-Germain 9 Guingamp 0: Verratti injured for rampant champions|
|Solskjaer: I´ll remember managing United for the rest of my life|
|Palace win a ´massive relief´ for Liverpool boss Klopp|
|Salah fourth fastest to 50 goals in Premier League history|
|Real Madrid 2 Sevilla 0: Solari´s side take over third spot|
|Watford 0 Burnley 0: Wood denied winner by contentious call|
|Liverpool 4 Crystal Palace 3: Salah reaches 50 thanks to Speroni shocker|
|Newcastle United 3 Cardiff City 0: Schar double moves hosts out of bottom three|
|Southampton 2 Everton 1: In-form Saints steer clear of trouble|
|Bournemouth 2 West Ham 0: Wilson and King sink Pellegrini´s men|
|Manchester United 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 1: Record-breaking win for Solskjaer|