After running at full throttle for 70 yards before chipping the ball into the back of the net, one could hardly forgive Gareth Bale for being tired, panting in the Anoeta cauldron, but in truth the Welshman was sticking out his out at those who doubted him and those who thought his time at Real Madrid was over.
The goal was reminiscent of the stunning Copa del Rey final strike he contributed in his first season at the club, and although this display of physical power and precision was in a simple LaLiga fixture, its importance to both Los Blancos and Bale is significant.
Over the opening weeks of the 2017/18 season, it had been said that the winger was shying away from the challenge of being at Real Madrid and that he should be dropped, but those claims were put to bed in the 60th minute of Sunday’s game.
From the first minute against Real Sociedad, Bale could be seen rushing from box to box with a big point to prove, responding to coach Zinedine Zidane’s confidence in him with a determined performance.
Ensuring that his defensive duties were complete, the second half saw the visitors gain plenty of space to counter-attack into and it was Bale who made the most of them, scoring the third before almost nabbing another but for Isco’s errant vision at the vital moment.
A year ago, Bale was Real’s best player. Cristiano Ronaldo was flagging and it the stage seemed set for the former Spurs man to step into stardom, only for injury to curtail his involvement across the entirety of the season.
Step by step, he has returned to the fold and only recently began playing pain-free, and with his incredible sprint finish and playful tongue-out celebration, it was clear that Bale was back and in top condition, both physically and mentally.
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vibehubs.com | credit:marca.com | Bale sticks his tongue out to the critics