Gareth Bale remains a divisive figure at Real Madrid, with the vast majority of fans seeing him as an expensive overrated player. However, Wales’s fortunes saw a dramatic turnaround when he scored twice in their World Cup qualifier against Moldova on Tuesday night.
Gareth Bale is a football player who was signed by Real Madrid for £85 million in 2013. He has since been maligned by the press and fans alike, but he proved his worth again when Wales were on the verge of elimination from Euro 2016.
When Gareth Bale joined Real Madrid from Tottenham for £85 million in 2013, he was the most expensive player in the world.
Gareth Bale, we salute you. Wales supporters serenade their captain with a song that contains a lyric about how he allegedly faked a back ailment to avoid being called up to Team GB’s Olympic team in 2012.
That’s why those fans were amused to learn that the same portion of Bale’s body was blamed for his absence from Real Madrid’s team for the loss to Barcelona last Sunday.
This was the latest in a long run of injuries that have marred Bale’s tenure in Spain, and the latest betrayal for the country’s football journalists.
Bale may have won four Champions Leagues, two La Liga crowns, and a slew of other medals with Real, but some in Spain believe he is a “parasite” because of his lack of activity for his club – and his ongoing, heroic devotion to his nation.
When he was seen smiling while training with Wales this week, only days after missing El Clasico, the front-page headline in Spanish tabloid Marca was a sarcastic: “It doesn’t hurt anymore.”
Bale has only played two hours of football for Real in the previous six months and has only made two appearances since the last international window in November, yet he was Wales’ saviour once again on Thursday.
It had been written. Bale scored two fantastic goals in a one-off World Cup play-off semi-final against Austria at home, inspiring a 2-1 victory and cementing his fame.
At a crowded and passionate Cardiff City Stadium, his first goal, a superb free-kick, provoked riotous scenes. The goal was matched by his celebration, which included an intense yell and a grasp of his Wales badge.
Was his scream for the television camera more than just sheer joy? Was there a message for his Spanish detractors there?
He told Sky Sports, “I don’t need to convey a message.” “It’s pointless for me to say anything; it’s a waste of time.”
“It’s horrible,” he said afterwards. They should be embarrassed by their actions. End of story. I’m not bothered.
“If I am able to play, I can strike a free-kick. It was satisfying to watch it enter.”
Even though such moments have become uncommon for Bale in a Real Madrid jersey, Wales supporters were well aware of their hero’s proclivity for crazy, game-changing moments.
Although it was his first international goal since Euro 2016, it was his 37th overall for Wales, extending his record as the country’s all-time best scorer in men’s football.
Bale scored a fantastic second merely to show that he is still capable of greatness, taking the ball in his stride and firing a thunderous shot into the far corner.
It was a frenzy of red jerseys and bucket hats in the Canton Stand, with a performance of Don’t Take Me Home, Wales’ hymn from their journey to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
Wales had been missing from major competitions for 58 years at the time, therefore just qualifying for that tournament was a remarkable feat.
They then advanced to the knockout rounds of Euro 2020, and Robert Page’s side are now one win away from qualifying for their first World Cup since 1958, courtesy to their victory against Austria.
“I don’t believe it’s really set in yet. What a game, what a night, what a special moment it was “Page said.
“The star guy shows up, and I simply told him it was the finest free-kick I’ve ever seen.”
“He hasn’t played a lot of minutes, but he has been training every day.” Did we expect him to play 90 minutes? Most likely not.
“We were certain that he would give us a fantastic hour. Finally, he tightens up and we have to remove him.”
Wales’ play-off final, which will most likely take place in June, will be a one-legged match against Scotland or Ukraine.
Bale said at the start of the season that this may be his last opportunity to qualify for a World Cup, and that doing so would be an accomplishment to add to his extensive list of outstanding club achievements.
He’s just one game away now.
“That’s half the battle won,” Bale added.
“We’ll have a good time tonight. We still have a difficult game against either Scotland or Ukraine to play, and we’ll be ready for it when the time comes.”
Who’s to say he won’t work his magic again to get Wales to the World Cup? He is unstoppable, even if he has a terrible back.
Gareth Bale is a Welsh footballer who plays as a forward for Real Madrid. He has won two Champions League titles, one La Liga title, one Copa del Rey title, and three Supercopa de Espana titles with the club. Reference: gareth bale contract.
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