Cristiano Ronaldo might just be quaking in his studded boots. Gareth Bale – about to apply his signature to finalise the most expensive transfer in football history – must be relishing the chance to show the Portuguese what he is made of.
Bale and Ronaldo are similar players. Neither of them occupies the actual position of striker but they both score upwards of 20 goals a season; albeit it is only in the season just passed that Bale has proven his prolific goal scoring prowess.
Some may consider it dangerous to have two such monumentally talented players in the same team. It could be argued that it could unsettle the dressing room and cause team results to slide. However, Bale will be constantly striving to show the whole of Spanish football – as well as the rest of the global football audience – what he is made of. Equally, Ronaldo will undoubtedly rise to the challenge posed by the young pretender.
The 2004 Real Madrid team that consisted of Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo, Raul, Roberto Carlos and David Beckham goes further to show that a team of incredible players can co-exist. Whilst the current Madrid team does not contain as many legends, the present squad is different in that virtually all of them are in their prime; they are all vying to show what they are made of and to prove themselves.
Bale will thrive in this environment. Just as he survived so many setbacks early on in his career at Southampton and then Spurs, he will more than survive amongst the greats of the Bernabéu.
Former Real player Michael Owen delivered a stark warning to Bale last week. He said that he needed to get himself settled quickly in the Spanish capital, or risk experiencing a ‘horror story’ off the pitch.
Like Owen did, Bale has a young child and partner to look after and the former Liverpool striker vividly remembers being in a ‘businessman’s hotel for five months.’ Bale will not want to even think about emulating Owen’s time in Madrid; he left after a single season.
It seems obvious that the problems that Bale is likely to face will be off the pitch as he adjusts to life in a foreign country and all the hurdles that need to be overcome. In terms of on-field issues, there surely will not be a challenge that Bale cannot rise to, even amongst the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Just as he destroyed Maicon during Spurs’ 2010 Champions League match against Inter Milan, he will undoubtedly silence the doubters and cement his place at the top table of global footballing icons.
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