The rumours that Cristiano Ronaldo may leave Real Madrid will be ever-present again this summer, but regardless of where the 31-year-old ends up, it is Gareth Bale who should be the new king of the famous Spanish giants next season.
It is no real secret that Bale has been terrific yet again this season. In 32 games in all competitions, the Welshman has scored 19 goals and created 12 assists, the sort of stats that you should expect from a player of his ilk.
However, the difference has been his importance to Real Madrid during their late and unsuccessful run at the La Liga title, and how he raises his game in the big occasions.
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In their last four league games, Bale scored four times, which included a double to come from behind to beat Rayo Vallecano, and the winner against Real Sociedad.
The Champions League final was his coming out party, where he put in a real barnstorming performance. He seemed to be almost everywhere on the pitch, especially in the first half, and got himself involved in every good moment for Real Madrid.
It was Bale who put in a great ball for Real Madrid's first chance that wasn't taken, his flick on set up the goal, and he was simply irresistible.
He glided past players when he was running, he got stuck in and tracked back to deny any Atletico Madrid counter attack, and he even took a beastly throw-in to Karim Benzema after he earned it from pressuring Filipe Luis.
Even towards the end of the initial 90 minutes, his energy and hard work gift-wrapped Ronaldo with a great opportunity to kill the game. Bale almost put the game to bed himself with the rebound after he rounded Jan Oblak and, bar a great block on the line by Stefan Savic, he could have been the match winner.
A real barn-storming performance from a man slowly growing in influence on this Madrid team under Zinedine Zidane.
While they still look to Ronaldo a little too often, it's clear that when Bale gets the ball, the fans are out of their seats waiting for him to create the magic that the Portuguese international has in the past.
When they seem to lack penetration, it always seems to be Bale that finds that little extra. Whether it's a strong run or a shot from nothing or a clever pass, much like his match-winning assist during the Clasico back in April.
The 26-year-old is ready to make a starring role for Wales this summer, but after that, it is his time to reign as the main man at Los Blancos. He has all the skills, he has finally found his role and now settled, it's time for him to prove exactly why he is the most expensive player in the world.
Will Gareth Bale be able to outshine Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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