It’s quite remarkable to see the player Gareth Bale has turned into at Real Madrid.
When he left Tottenham for £85million in 2013, many feared the worst. You only had to see how Michael Owen and Jonathan Woodgate fared to see that British players don’t always succeed at the Santiago Bernabeu.
But Bale has developed into a world-class player in the Spanish capital. Los Blancos wanted Cristiano Ronaldo’s heir and they certainly found him.
His record of 61 goals in 131 appearances for Madrid is impressive, and becomes even more so when you consider the importance of some of those strikes.
The brilliant winner against Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey final. The go-ahead goal in extra time of the 2014 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.
He was sublime for Wales at Euro 2016, too, fulfilling his role as the nation’s leader with three goals as Chris Coleman’s team reached the semi-final.
Of course, playing with the world’s best players has helped Bale immensely. At White Hart Lane, Tottenham very often looked to the flying winger for inspiration. But at Madrid, Bale knows that he has an excellent supporting cast in Ronaldo, Luka Modric and co.
Bale's fastest teammates
In an interview with talkSPORT, Bale revealed all about his club and international teammates, including who the best trainer is and even who Madrid's locker-room DJ is.
However, it was Bale’s answer to being asked to name the fastest player he has played with that caught our attention. The 27-year-old went for two current Madrid stars, Ronaldo and French defender Raphael Varane.
Check out the Q&A below.
Turns out Ronaldo isn’t the best trainer at Real Madrid, then. Well not according to Bale anyway, who said: “For me, Luka Modric is the best trainer. He just seems to always be consistent and sees passes that no-one else sees.
“Obviously being with him at Tottenham and Real Madrid, I’ve been able to witness it many times.”
Bale has plenty of reasons to smile at the minute as he prepares to sign a new contract with the European champions. Spanish outlet Cadena Ser claim he’s set to put pen-to-paper on a new deal that includes a €500 million release clause and will keep him at the Bernabeu until 2022.