Gareth Bale joined Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur on 1st September, 2013 for a reported fee of £85.3 million to become world’s most expensive player.
The Welsh winger added dynamism to a squad which already had wealth of attacking talent. Bale’s arrival at the club was much glorified but he soon got injured and was only able to complete five matches in his first 16. He scored his first goal against Villareal in the LaLiga. Bale made his El Clasico debut in October, 2013 and was quite impressive, which made him an instant fan favourite. The Spanish media nicknamed him ‘The Cannon’.
The 2013-14 season saw Bale develop into the player he was destined to become but Madrid had to spend a fortune to get him. He scored 22 goals in 44 matches, which was his second best tally after 26 goals for Spurs in the preceding season. First, Bale won the Copa Del Rey against Barcelona in the final. The encounter saw Bale scoring his 20th goal of the season and his first in a ‘Clasico’. Then he went on to score in the Champions League final against city rivals Atletico Madrid, which saw Real clinch their 10th Champions League that capped a near perfect season.
Gareth Bale was instrumental in Madrid’s successful 2013-14 campaign, he had already won three major trophies in one season with Real compared to just one trophy with Spurs in six seasons. One other factor that clicked for Bale was that he and Cristiano Ronaldo was able to form a lethal attacking partnership. The boy who once used to be a Welsh prodigy in a Southampton kit was now a world-beater and a ‘Madridista’.
The 2014-15 season saw a drop in his performance as compared to the previous campaign. Although, he did help Madrid win the FIFA Club World Cup, still his performance wasn’t up to his standards. His career hit low when he started getting booed by the home fans for playing solo which lead to some transfer speculation later that season. Manchester United wanted him back in England, but Real had invested in Bale for the long term . Manager at that time, Carlos Ancelotti supported him through his difficult phase. Bale still managed to score a decent 17 goals in 48 matches.
His current campaign which is his third season in Spain saw Rafa Benitez replacing Ancelotti as the head coach but it didn’t last long as he was sacked and replaced with club legend Zinedine Zidane. Bale made a special day historical when he scored a hat-trick in Zidane’s managerial debut. Bale looked steady with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo and ready to compete for titles. Ronaldo now 31 has his years numbered in football and may look to move on to new pastures. Bale only 26 still has a lot of football left in him. Although he remains injury prone, he can certainly take the mantle of being the main man at Madrid.