We live in a time when the battle to be the best football player on Earth is fought between a talented guy and a freak athlete. While the two best players lock horns year after year to win the Ballon d’Or, people have already started looking for players who can replace these two guys. In 2013 when Real Madrid bought Gareth Bale it wasn’t really to fill the shoes of Ronaldo. But three years on, even though the Welsh winger has mainly played second fiddle to the Portuguese striker/winger/human machine, it seems it’s time for Gareth Bale to take the step up.
As soon as Gareth Bale became the most expensive player on the planet, Madrid fans pinned all their hopes for the coveted tenth Champions League trophy on him. The fragile little left-back from Tottenham had finally become the guy who could turn the fortunes around for the richest club in the world.
Gareth Bale has been nothing but exceptional for Real Madrid. He has scored amazing goals and has often helped his team to victory when nothing seemed to be going their way. Despite this, there’s a perception that Bale has been limited to being the wing-man to a certain preening Portuguese throughout his time at the Bernabeu.
In his first year at the Spanish club, Bale outjumped Toby Alderweireld to head in Angel Di Maria’s deflected shot to give the lead to Real and ultimately help them beat Atletico 4-1 in extra-time to win the Champions League Final. The man literally set La Decima up for them and even after doing so, he is still not seen as the proper successor to Cristiano.
But now it seems like the stage is set. Ronaldo is out with an injury for 8 weeks. He won’t be playing for a while and, for the start of the season at least, it’ll be the perfect time for the Welshman to show that he is ready to take the baton from Real’s Portuguese talisman.
While the many people will doubt his ability to carry a team he has show the potential to do so. The Copa Del Ray Final of 2014 springs to mind. The understudy-turned-heir performed when his team needed to and showed the world that Real Madrid is about more than just Ronaldo.
The Real number 7 is 31 now. It’s only a matter of time before this freak of an athlete loses his touch. With a dip in form imminent, Bale has to take the responsibilities on his shoulder.
Ronaldo may remain the player of quantity with his intimidating tallies of shots and goals but increasingly it is Bale who now provides the quality. It’s only a matter of time before Bale becomes the main man at Bernabeu.
It won’t be accepted that the Welshman has overtaken Ronaldo until he can at least match him for his number of goals and assists. Bale’s impact on Real’s side goes way past these shallow stats. He surges back and forth on the field whereas Ronaldo’s all-round play has severely deteriorated with age.
Having taken Wales to the semi-finals of the Euro 2016, the Welshman will be high on confidence to prove his doubters wrong about him being a co-star when wearing white.