Thursday, February 21, 2019

Bale 100: Wales superstar´s best strikes from his Real Madrid century

SoccerNews in La Liga 9 Feb 2019

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Real Madrid have another member in their 100 club after Gareth Bale sealed glory in El Derbi against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

The Wales forward was a world-record signing when he moved to the Santiago Bernabeu for €100m in 2013 and has gone on to win four Champions Leagues with Los Blancos.

He also counts the 2013-14 Copa del Rey and 2016-17 LaLiga titles among his honours and has illuminated key clashes at home and abroad.

Here, we look back at six of Bale’s best.

Elche (H) – LaLiga: February 22, 2014

After taking a little time to settle following his arrival, Bale really began to hit his stride after the turn of the year in his debut Madrid season. The vital second goal in a 3-0 win over Elche at the Bernabeu came in scintillating fashion when he clattered home a 30-yard strike via the underside of the crossbar.

Rayo Vallecano (H) – LaLiga: March 29, 2014

No team has felt Bale’s wrath more regularly than Rayo, who have conceded to the Welshman on nine occasions. As part of a brace in a 5-0 thumping, he burst through two challenges when a Rayo corner was cleared. That began a rampaging run of nearly 70 yards, which concluded with a cool finish.

Barcelona (N) – Copa del Rey: April 16, 2014

Bale turned on the afterburners again when it mattered most against Madrid’s bitter rivals in the Copa del Rey final at Mestalla. With the game locked at 1-1 and extra time beckoning, he collected possession on halfway, booted the ball past Marc Bartra, sprinted off the pitch and around the beleaguered defender before prodding beyond goalkeeper Jose Pinto. A sidelined Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated amid bedlam in the stands.

Legia Warsaw (A) – Champions League: November 2, 2016

The Champions League campaign that ended in glory against Juventus in Bale’s native Cardiff featured a group-stage slog in Poland – Mateo Kovacic salvaging a 3-3 draw five minutes from time. Such a turn of events seemed unlikely when Bale swivelled to thump a still-rising strike into the top-right corner from 25 yards inside the first minute.

Borussia Dortmund (A) – Champions League: September 26, 2017

Picking Bale’s best volley from the 2017-18 Champions League season is not the straightforward task you might think. His stunning, side-footed finish from Dani Carvajal’s delicately chipped pass to open the scoring in a 3-1 win at the Signal Iduna Park was a thing of rare beauty.

Liverpool (N) – Champions League: May 26, 2018

Benched by Zinedine Zidane for Europe’s showpiece game, Bale came on with a point to prove and a game in the balance. He had been on the pitch a shade over two minutes when he launched himself to hook a remarkable overhead kick into the top-left corner from Marcelo’s hopeful cross. The destination of a trophy synonymous with Madrid rarely felt in doubt after that unforgettable moment.

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