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4 May, 2022 10:49

Villarreal goalkeeper roasted for horror show in Champions League loss to Liverpool

Geronimo Rulli put in a disasterclass for the ages against Liverpool
Villarreal goalkeeper roasted for horror show in Champions League loss to Liverpool

Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli was widely mocked on social media after a string of errors that cost his team a place in the Champions League final.

With his small-town outfit going into the second leg of the semi-final against Liverpool 2-0 down, Rulli had kept a clean sheet until half time with goals from Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin on three and 41 minutes stunning the visitors.

All was going well in the second half, too, with Jurgen Klopp's men struggling to find a way to respond until Rulli began handing them gifts from the hour mark onwards.

First allowing Fabinho's shot to roll through his legs, Rulli then let Man of the Match Luis Diaz's close range header nutmeg him as well as the Colombian made it level on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.

Saving his worst for last, however, Rulli then came off his line and into no man's land, which allowed Sadio Mane to simply side-step him and tap it home into an empty net to put the tie well beyond the Yellow Submarine's reach.

Unsurprisingly, the internet was as unforgiving as ever and immediately piled on the Argentine.

"Geronimo Rulli. Pros: Quite good at playing the ball out from the back. Cons: goalkeeping," was one appraisal of his display.

"Biggest con since Charles Ponzi," the shotstopper was also called.

"This is close to 'suspicious betting patterns' territory," joked a separate party, as Rulli blundered in what was Villarreal's biggest UCL match in 16 years, since they were beaten at this stage of the competition by Arsenal. 

Comparisons were also made to ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius, who was soon replaced by Brazil international Alisson and sent to the backwaters of European football by Klopp after mishaps in the 2018 final handed Real Madrid their 13th big-eared crown.

With Los Blancos just 4-3 behind on aggregate to Liverpool's Premier League title race rivals Manchester City going into their semifinal second leg meeting at the Bernabeu tonight, Reds star Mohamed Salah was asked which of the two sides he wants to face and couldn't have been clearer.

"I want to play Madrid, I have to be honest," Salah admitted to BT Sport. "Manchester City's a real tough team, we've played against them a few times this season."

"But if you ask me personally, I would prefer Madrid. We lost in the final before against them, I want to play them and hopefully we'll win."

For the Egyptian international, there is unfinished business with the La Liga champions that goes beyond the 3-1 scoreline where Karius was tricked and robbed by Karim Benzema to put Madrid ahead when throwing the ball out and later allowed a swerving Gareth Bale effort slip through his hands for the decider.

Midway through the first half in Kiev, master of the Dark Arts Sergio Ramos locked Salah's arm when the pair competed for the ball and dislocated his shoulder, which resulted in Salah being substituted shortly after.

And while Ramos has since moved on to Paris Saint Germain, securing a potential quadruple against Madrid and handing them their first defeat in a European final since Liverpool beat them in 1981 would be a dish best served cold.