Real Madrid’s €100.8 million signing of Gareth Bale has to be one of the most significant transfer stories of recent times. The transfer fee for ‘The Welsh Wizard’ even surpassed what Los Blancos had paid to acquire Cristiano Ronaldo ( €94 million) from Manchester United and the former Tottenham Hotspur star completed the world-record transfer move back in the summer of 2013. The record, however, has finally been broken by the Red Devils’ last summer swoop for Paul Pogba, the former Manchester United midfielder, whom they re-signed for €105 million from Serie A champions Juventus.
Bale’s journey to the Spanish capital generated a mixed reaction worldwide. Although he had a majestic spell with Spurs, there was uncertainty over his ability to replicate the same at Bernabeu as the likes of Michael Owen and Jonathan Woodgate were labelled as transfer flops at Real Madrid following their high-profile move from Premier League football.
But the Welshman is having a decent journey defying all odds despite a slow start due to initial injury concerns. He ended up netting 22 and assisting 16 times in 44 outings across all competitions and scored the most crucial goal of his career at extra-time in 2013-14 UEFA Champions League final against city rivals Atletico Madrid. He helped them win the prestigious title for the 9th time and formed a lethal combination up front alongside Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo which is popularly known as ‘BBC’.
His next season was not equally impressive due to inconsistency and injuries. But he came back strong during the 2015-16 campaign and scored his 43rd La Liga goal, surpassing Gary Lineker’s record of being the highest scoring British player and assisted the team’s only goal in UEFA Champions League final as well as converted his spot-kick in tie-breaker against the same opponent. He had a massive influence in another Champions League triumph defeating Rojiblancos and completing their historic ‘La Decima’.
Bale, however, once again struggled with injuries last term and although he was part of their La Liga as well as 11th Champions League winning squad, the attacker had a nervy spell with only 9 goals in 27 outings across all competitions.
The 28-year old Welshman, who progressed through the ranks of Southampton as a left-back, flourished in an advanced role and eventually became a winger as well as a centre forward in later days. But his injuries are troubling him to appear regularly for past four campaigns as it has affected his consistency and form. Also, the likes of Isco and Marco Asensio have stepped up in the meantime which implies the uncertainty of Gareth Bale’s game-time for the forthcoming season.
There is a notion that Real boss Zinedine Zidane is considering shipping out Bale in order to bring in £120 mil-rated Monaco’s 18-year-old striking sensation Kylian Mbappe. Bale will attract interest from Premier League and the Madrid giants are hoping to recoup around £90 mil for the British superstar who is under contract until summer 2022. The Welshman, too, should consider a return to English football and it will be the best recourse for his unsettled future.