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“When speed and skill come together, it’s called Gareth Bale”

– Real Madrid Online

Gareth Bale: A season reviewLa Decima

Few could have imagined the drought that would ensue following Zinedine Zidane’s iconic volley which saw Madrid win their ninth European Cup. Fewer would have envisaged, that a young boy from Whitchurch in Cardiff, who was sat watching the game from his living room TV would go on and score the winner twelve years later to win Real Madrid their much sought after La Decima.

The Welshman’s move to the Spanish capital was for a world record transfer, and one that was filled with pessimism and doubt that the Gareth could shine on the world stage at the biggest club in the world. It has taken a season, but the critics have fallen silent, because Gareth has lit the world on fire.

Gareth Bale’s first appearance in the famous white of Real Madrid was in a two all draw away to the Yellow Submarine, or Villareal. Consequently, a debut that would coincide with Gareth’s first goal for Real, the team he had dreamt of playing for since he was a young boy, watching them win the ninth European Cup in Glasgow.

Power, speed, skill

What Gareth has brought to La Liga is a combination of power, speed and skill, and his direct approach to the game is something that is universally feared. At first, I feared that this approach might not be so effective in Spain, with the Spaniards preferring a more condensed game, where space is limited. However, this is a credit to the Welshman, whose ability to force his play, and dictate his opposition is a skill that has seen him flourish at the Bernabeu.

With 20 goals across all competitions to his name, his price tag, which at first was metaphorically described as a man carrying the world on his shoulders, has proven to be a drop in the ocean compared to the early talent that Gareth has displayed over two thousands minutes of football this season. The real concern for anyone facing Madrid next season, is that Gareth will only get better, this is simply the first stroke of the portrait that Gareth is creating. The man is an artist, an artist in its purest forms, where the ball is his paintbrush, and the green grass is his empty canvas.

Of all the glory that Bale has produced in his debut season, it was imperative that he scored against bitter rivals Barcelona. The true challenge of a Galactico is to stand and perform in the biggest games, and against the biggest opposition, and it is fair to say that this goal was an angelic attempt that will go down in the archives as one of the greatest goals in a Clasico.

That goal

“Bale looking to use his pace, taken out a bit by Bartra, well tried to, the referee has played a good advantage, Bale using that pace, can he finish? Oh! What a goal!! Solo spectacular from Gareth Bale, to probably win the Copa del Rey for Real Madrid!”

I am sure, like me, that when reading that quote, you pictured Gareth picking up the ball just inside his own half, before hitting it beyond a vulnerable Bartra, before being ushered over the touch lines, before Gareth’s immense power, and explosive acceleration saw him surpass the defender, before edging into the Barcelona box, before slotting the ball past a defenceless Pinto in goal. Beautiful. A moment where the world stood still, and the dreams of a young boy from Whitchurch became a beautiful reality.

Silverware

With his first piece of silverware in the cabinet, and his first open top bus parade down Cibeles complete, Gareth’s next mission was to attain the Spanish league title, and of course, La Decima.

With Madrid’s careless pursuit of the league eventually leading to City rival Atletico Madrid lifting the title, all eyes were on Lisbon, and Gareth’s first Champions League final appearance, in what was the biggest game of football he has ever played in. The stage was set for boys to become men, and for Galacticos to become eternal.

With minutes to spare, Sergio Ramos gave Real Madrid a lifeline, before Gareth’s goal gave Real the lead. A lead that would see the team go on and score another two goals.

It was 4392 days, from the day where Gareth Bale watched on as Zinedine Zidane score a goal that would give Real Madrid the 9th title, to the day that Zinedine Zidane watched on as Gareth Bale score the goal that gave Real Madrid the infamous La Decima.

‘Dreams are not instant, and success does not come overnight. Gareth Bale spent 4392 days working on a dream.’

Originally published at fourfourtweet.co.uk

Post written by Ieuan Evans, Twitter: @IEvans93
for FourFourTweet, Blog: fourfourtweet.co.uk, Twitter: @FourFourTweet

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