Gareth Bale’s stunning solo goal late last night won Real Madrid the Copa del Rey, disposing of arch-rivals Barcelona in the most dramatic of fashions.
It was a goal to remind the world of Bale’s effortless genius; a goal to add to his growing number of special strikes; and a goal to permanently endear him to the army of Madrid faithful, who may have even begun to doubt him since his move to the Spanish capital.
Before the game last night in Valencia’s Mestalla stadium, there were some that considered Bale’s first season in Spanish football to have been decidedly underwhelming, considering the lack of real game-changing performances from the 24-year-old.
At Tottenham, Bale had been a relentless attacking dynamo, scoring at will, and boosting his credentials to the point where Madrid shelled out a world record £86m for his services last year; a Hollywood ending for the former Southampton full-back!
But the majority of Bale’s 19 goals before last night’s encounter had been in Real routs, or against those deemed to be lesser opposition. It was time for the winger to step up, and with Cristiano Ronaldo injured for the tie, there could be no better time for a virtuoso performance.
Bale’s halfway line run left Barcelona defender Marc Bartra looking like a puppy chasing a train. The Welshman even veered off the pitch as he raced to collect the ball, and while for a moment it seemed as though the winger had lost control, there was no mistake in the finish, coolly clipping the ball past a helpless Pinto.
“It was incredible, I have never seen anything like it,” said teammate Xabi Alonso after the game,
“It looked like the ball was going out, but he kept pushing and ran off the field to get it. It was amazing.”
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti also hailed the strike, saying “It was definitely his most important goal for Madrid. It was the defining moment in the game.”
But how does it compare with some of Bale’s other efforts this season? His skillful solo goal against Schalke in the Champions League was quite impressive, as was his long-ranger against Elche in la Liga.
Check out the below video, and let me know which Bale effort takes the prize!