Gareth Bale really wasn’t half bad at Tottenham.
“He [Bale] is a player of great quality and, as we always say, our aim in each window is to improve the quality of the squad. He has the ideal combination to become a top, top player.”
These were the words uttered by sporting director Damien Comolli (as per BBC Sport) in 2007 when Spurs signed a relatively unknown gem by the name of Gareth Bale for an estimated £10million, and we find ourselves wondering, did he really, truly believe what he was saying? Because if he did he’s a genius.
Now, we admit that if you take out the blistering speed, unrivalled athleticism, sensational skills and insatiable thirst for success (yes, he used to have it before the Madrid spell) then Gareth Bale is a pretty normal player. Actually, whilst we’re at it, best not forget about his free-kicks as well or some of the long distances worldies he’s scored – THEN he’s a pretty normal player, right? Wrong. Bale still had enough in the tank to be one of the best in the league back when he turned out for Spurs what seems to be a lifetime ago now.
It didn’t always come so easy to Bale, though. Indeed, he suffered a truly extraordinary winless record at the beginning of his fledgeling Spurs career which saw him go 25 Premier League matches without winning a single game. Which, we suppose, makes the whole success thing all the sweeter. Everyone loves a comeback story. An underdog tale, if you will.
There are plenty of stories about Bale’s magnificence. Too many, in fact. But there’s always one that sticks out in our minds above all others. “That” night in Milan. Goodness gracious me, what a spectacle it was. Spurs were four goals down at the break and a man down. Harry Redknapp, King of the Jungle, was the boss at the time and faced probably one of the most challenging half-time team talks of his life. We reckon it probably boiled down to a simple: “think of your families, you pathetic worms” – but then we aren’t managers, and probably that’s probably why.
Gareth Bale was clearly spurned on by Redknapp’s words of encouragement – or threats – collected his first of the game after running the length of the pitch passed the hapless Maicon and Zanetti (I repeat: Maicon and Zanetti) making them look like worthless school children picked last in football. Another sank in the net moment later from an almost identical angle before the Welshman grabbed his third of the night. There’s a reason Inter stopper Julio Cesar ended up at Queens Park Rangers a few years later. He was broken.
Gareth Bale’s hat-trick against Inter Milan at the San Siro is one of the greatest I’ve ever seen. pic.twitter.com/z0jt7VBFCy
— Sam • (@SWPalace) March 27, 2018
Then there were the 21 goals in 33 Premier League games during the 2012/13 campaign, which saw him collect both PFA Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year. Sit down and stop it, Gareth, you’re making us all look bad.
And sit down he did, right on Real Madrid’s undeserving lap for the costly sum of £85.3million – a world record deal at the time. Classic Madrid ruining all our fun.
Spurs fans, just how special was it to see Bale become a superstar at your club? Given his situation in Spain, would you take him back now? Let us know in the comments below…
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