A look at Gareth Bale's debut season in Spain
Living up to an 86 million euro price tag was never going to be an easy task for Gareth Bale. After a slow start, the Welsh winger has proved any doubters wrong as he has played some of the best football of his career to date.
It can be a tough job playing in a country where football is a big part of the culture, and even more so when the team you play for is one of the biggest in the world. To be seen as a star player at Real Madrid, you have to be a class above the rest and be on top of your game.
Bale’s recent headline-grabbing goal in the victory over rivals Barcelona in the Copa del Rey cup final last week showed just why Ancelotti and his backroom staff were so keen to get the 24-year-olds signature. Showing great speed, strength, skill and balance, Bale took the responsibility into his own hands with last year’s Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo out injured.
There is no doubt that the Cardiff-born midfielder had to find his feet adapting to the different style of play that La liga offers. His 14 goals in 25 games is a very respectable record indeed, and, with his performances getting better game on game, I think this will improve in the next few years.
Alongside his 14 goals, Bale has notched 12 assists and has had 81 shots on goal. If he wants to be a long-term success at the Bernabeu then having an all-round game is crucial. Although scoring goals will get Bale the credit, he needs to keep providing plenty of assists and getting stuck in defensively.
After the most important goal of his career so far, Bale has already equalled his trophy tally that he gained at Spurs by lifting the Copa Del Rey last week. Real Madrid also have the opportunity to complete the treble as they are still in contention of winning La Liga and the Champions League. If they do manage to get the treble, it will be no coincidence that they do it during Bale’s first season with the club.
You can’t call Bale’s first season in Spain anything other than a success. I think he fits the style that Ancelotti’s men play perfectly and if the likes of Ronaldo and Benzema continue to play at their best, Real Madrid will be a massive force for many years to come.