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Bale's Last Chance to Make an Impression?

It seems as though the blistering sprint in the Copa Del Ray of 2014 against Barcelona which saw the raw brilliance of Gareth Bale is a distant memory. Following his then world record signing from Tottenham Hotspur, Gareth Bale's quality as a footballer is unquestionable. He is gifted physically in ways few forwards can match and has the technique to match. In his tenure in the Spanish capital so far, he has had a trophy-laden run. In his four years at Real Madrid, he has acquired: three UEFA Champions Leagues, one FIFA Club World Cup, two UEFA Super Cups, one La Liga and a Copa Del Ray. He's won more in Spain than the likes of Gary Lineker, Mark Hughes, and David Beckham - just to name a few. Though, considering his growing trophy cabinet, has Gareth Bale been as big a success as expected in Madrid?

Image: Yahoo
When Bale arrived at Madrid, on the back of that sensational final season at Tottenham Hotspur where he marauded the final third and terrified Premier League back lines with blistering pace and a cannon of a left foot, many expected him to go to the next level at Real Madrid. The expectation of the Welshman was to take the mantle of the main man at the club from superstar teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo. However, in the four years since his debut, he's still to break that proverbial glass ceiling.

As of April this year in 149 appearances, Gareth Bale has recorded 67 goals and 51 assists. In total, Bale is contributing 0.79 goals or assists per game that he plays. When compared to the first 150 games of teammate Cristiano Ronaldo however, who contributed an astonishing 1.1 goals alone per game in his first 150, Bale's figures seem a little more modest.

Another comparison made between the two teammates is the consistency of fitness across a season. Despite an incredible first season at Real Madrid, Bale has struggled with niggling fitness issues. In his first season, he was injured a total six times - missing 17 games that season. In the 14/15 season, Bale endured a rather turbulent campaign. His form was hit and miss and in the 12 games the team played without him, they won 12 out of 12. Bale missed a total of 16 games that season through injury. As well as that, he also put out worse numbers with 22 goals and 12 assists in his debut campaign, his second season saw him fall to 16 goals and 10 assists, even with 6 more appearances as a whole. The 15/16 season had the same trend, despite a big boost in form and an improved record of goals and assists on his previous campaign Bale missed a total of 23 games in that season.

Despite some good performances in big games for Los Blancos, the season was still riddled by the same issue. In his most recent campaign with the club, Bale started the season in excellent form. In fact, it was the best start to a season in his entire career. 14 goals/assists in the opening 20 games, this season appeared to be the season where Bale would finally step out of the shadows. The season where the Welsh Dragon breathes fire. Though, an away game against Sporting Lisbon in November saw an end to the momentum. Following an ankle injury, Bale would sit out for 3 months. A total of 3 injuries saw him miss a total of 27 games.

Image: Getty
Bale has shown he has the ability to carry the team in the attack, one would only have to look at his impressive run of form at the end of 15/16 as well as just prior to his injury this past season. When looking at some of his rival comparisons, mainly Neymar Jr of Barcelona, it is clear that if Bale can remain fit he could compete with these names and put out impressive figures. This past season somewhat proves that, up until the point he got injured, Bale boasted much more impressive stats than the Brazilian attacker, with a better goals and assists ratio in the opening games of the season. That added together with his form at Euro 2016, where he carried his national team all the way to the semi-finals.

For Bale to improve, there are a number of potential factors he needs to overcome. One he could pick up from team-mates, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Both the Portuguese international and the Frenchman have slimmed down their physiques and become leaner. Ronaldo lost 3 kilograms ahead of this campaign as well as a revised training regime of cutting muscle mass. In turn, it has paid dividends for both men, Ronaldo has been able to regain some of his speed and dribbling ability whilst Benzema has also seen similar benefits, one only needs to look at his assist for Isco against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Since moving to Madrid, Bale has bulked up considerably.

Perhaps if he were to follow in the footsteps of his team-mates, he may find physical issues a little easier to contend with. He also needs to become a little more selfish, we've seen he has the ability to take teams on and the ability to score from anywhere, in the air, in the box, outside the box, from the penalty spot, and from a free kick. Whilst it would be difficult not to give the ball to the serial scorer that is Ronaldo, Bale ought to start going for things himself.


Despite impressive stats, unquestionable ability and a very impressive record in finals, Gareth Bale needs to make a statement in this upcoming campaign. With Real Madrid in what appears to be a dynastical period, the team playing like an unstoppable unit, there will be no room for players being there on reputation. We saw that with the inclusion of Isco and Asensio over Bale in latter parts of the campaign. Real Madrid has taken on what seems to be a "kill or be killed" mantra when it comes to winning. Zinedine Zidane is ruthless with his man management, he will drop stars when necessary and play the ones who are in form. Real Madrid has evolved from a team of Galacticos to a team that is cohesive and unified. A collection of individuals who can coexist for each other. For Gareth Bale, he needs to adapt or perish.

With whispers of players such as Kylian Mbappe being bought in at the cost of a member of the BBC, Bale must stake his claim. This upcoming season has the potential to be make or break for the Welshman. Will it be the mighty roar of the all conquering Welsh Dragon or will it be another season of what could've been?

Image: AS

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TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport: Bale's Last Chance to Make an Impression?
Bale's Last Chance to Make an Impression?
Is time running out for Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZQs9LuFHozE/WVEQcV-L5dI/AAAAAAAABI4/S4v8z6bR0kQxU3Dy87rvjotrw7YkwnmnwCLcBGAs/s1600/Screenshot_1.png
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TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport
http://www.thesportmatrix.com/2017/06/is-this-season-gareth-bales-last-chance.html
http://www.thesportmatrix.com/
http://www.thesportmatrix.com/
http://www.thesportmatrix.com/2017/06/is-this-season-gareth-bales-last-chance.html
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