Real Madrid once created the Galacticos, a team of superstars brought in with the aim of dominating European football. It appears they are on course to do the same again.
A team with Cristiano Ronaldo and his quick feet dazzling down one side and the pure pace and athleticism of Gareth Bale on the other side is more than enough to strike fear into any opposition. These two perfect footballing specimen combined with the guile and quick thinking of players like Luka Modric, Xabi Alonso and Asier Illarramendi, suggest a team that can take on the best of the best and have a very good chance of reclaiming the La Liga title this season and maybe more.
But how important is Bale to this? Was he worth spending an inordinate amount of money on? Maybe.
It’s always a risk especially for a player like Bale who has never fully experienced the highest peaks of European football. One foray into the Champions League for Tottenham Hotspur is the limit and cannot be considered in the same league as Real Madrid both in terms of overall quality and weight of expectation.
Bale made his debut for Madrid yesterday, marking it with a first goal. He had a couple of nice touches and good commitment which was evident for the goal, but nothing extra special, nothing that would make him clearly stand out.
The 24-year old looked like he had gone from being a big fish in a small pond to a big fish in a big pond. He wasn’t the focal point; that honour still lies with the proven Ronaldo.
It didn’t look like Bale was overawed by the occasion and there is no doubt that as he continues to train with his new teammates greater understanding will arise and his performances will improve. A keen eye however should be cast on Bale during his first home match, as that will likely give an indication of how he will handle the true pressure that comes from playing for Los Blancos in front of a packed Bernabeu crowd.
Over the course of this season it will become clear just how good Bale can be, and whether Madrid should have spent a world-record fee to land a humble Welshman from the Lane.
There is no doubt he has the talent, but whether he can grasp the opportunity to become a true great remains to be seen.