Gareth Bale may struggle with Real Madrid pressure

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When Gareth Bale takes to the pitch in a Real Madrid shirt for the first time next month, as is expected, it will be like nothing he has ever experienced before.

Not only will he be playing in front of 80,000+ supporters on a weekly basis that expect and demand success – but, as the most expensive player in football history, he will be under an extraordinary amount of pressure to perform and inspire the team.

Poor displays won't be acceptable, anything less than a goal every other game will be considered an unmitigated failure, however fair or unfair that may seem.

The price tag will matter, unquestionably – this is a player who is expected to cost around £13m more than Cristiano Ronaldo, who arrived at the Bernabeu in 2009 as a Ballon d'Or winner, with a Champions League winners' medal and multiple league titles under his belt.

Bale has none of those honours to his name yet. This is a lad of 24 years old who performed to an exceptionally high level last season – but has only played a handful of Champions League matches and, of course, has never competed at a World Cup or European Championship.

Not his fault, sure, but that lack of big-game experience could be a hindrance when he's lining up against fierce rivals Barcelona at the Nou Camp or Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the semi-final of a Champions League.

Real Madrid and Bale himself will have drawn encouragement from the fact that when Tottenham needed him to perform in their biggest matches he often did – but doing it for Spurs is one thing, Real Madrid quite another.

It's important to remember that, like all footballers, above anything else Gareth Bale is human - a man that will inevitably feel the huge pressure and expectation – and that astronomical price tag – weighing down heavily on his shoulders.

And then there are the difficulties of settling into a new country, where he doesn't know the language, with a young family.

Some of Britain's best players have struggled to settle at Real Madrid, the nine-time European champions and quite possibly the world's biggest club; how Bale copes with it all will determine whether he proves a success, or the most expensive flop in football history.

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La Liga
Tottenham Hotspur
Real Madrid
Premier League
Gareth Bale

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