Many Tottenham Hotsupur fans know this scenario off by heart, but let’s relive it once more for the old times. Spurs are 4-0 down, away in the San Siro against the defending champions, Inter Milan.

Heurelho Gomes has already been sent off in this, the second game of the group stage. What’s worse? It’s only half time. Step forward Gareth Bale.

The flying Welshman, who only nine months previously was close to signing for Nottingham Forest, tore Inter, and Maicon apart in the second half. Spurs still lost, but thanks to Bale’s three brilliant goals, an exercise in direct counter attacking, they still had their credibility and more.

That same Bale was so close to dropping a division, which seems laughable now, but it really was that close to happening. Had it not been for Benoit Assou-Ekotto injuring himself before the African Cup of Nations in early 2010, Bale was on his way to the East Midlands. Now, he stands one of the most prized assets in world football. Isn’t it funny how everything can change in just one kick of the ball?

While Harry Redknapp deserves a lot of credit for helping Bale become the player he is today, toughening him up in training by demanding he get up and stop playing with his hair, or he would cut it off, there is clearly a huge slice of luck involved.

In the return leg, young Gareth had the game of his life so far. While he didn’t score, he took on and beat Inter’s defence time and time again, assisting two of Spurs’ three goals. Maicon, who was previously regarded as the finest full back around, keeping Dani Alves out of the Brazil team, was reduced to a nervous wreck and laughing stock within 90 minutes.

Whether Bale can repeat those heroics again at the Lane tonight and in a week at the San Siro remains to be seen, but we can be sure that Inter will leave nothing to chance this time around. 


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