By Parth Parikh,
Sports Business Writer
It has been three years since Gareth Bale, a former Tottenham Hotspur star, left the English club to pursue his career at Real Madrid FC, joining on a then-record fee of 85 million Euros. At Tottenham, Bale turned from a local Welsh sensation to an international star, netting 49 goals in 127 matches at the English club in one of the toughest and most competitive soccer leagues in the world. In 2013, Bale decided it was time to take his game to the global stage, and the Spanish club Real Madrid FC, desperate for another superstar to pair up with the multi-talented Cristiano Ronaldo, agreed on a price of 85 million Euros to acquire Bale’s talents. Real Madrid are glad to have him as part of their team, as indicated by his recent contract extension with the club that will keep him in Madrid until 2022. The deal is worth 150 million Euros and with that, Bale becomes the highest-paid player in world soccer.
Bale’s first year in Madrid not only lived up to its value, but expectations as well. After scoring 22 goals in 44 appearances at the club, it is believed that Bale won the unofficial title of most valuable player, after scoring the two most important goals not only in the season, but Real Madrid history as well. The first goal came in the 2014 Copa Del Rey final against longtime rivals Barcelona. The Copa Del Rey is the national soccer tournament of Spain and a title Real Madrid had not won since 2011. With five minutes left and the game tied at one apiece, Bale took the ball from midfield and outran multiple defenders as he sprinted his way towards the goal, scoring the game-winning goal in a final that many though Madrid would lose, as Ronaldo was hurt and could not play. The second goal that defined Bale’s Madrid career less than 400 days since he started was in the famed 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, one of the most watched soccer events in the world. In extra time, with the match tied one apiece against another Spanish rival, Atlético Madrid, Bale soared over his defender as he took a missed goal attempt and headed the shot into the top right corner of the goal, breaking the draw and giving Real Madrid the go-ahead goal that ultimately resulted in a win. This helped the clubearn a title they had not won since 2002.
Since his first year, Bale has had his good times and bad times with 3 coaches in his 3 year career. Typical soccer transfer rumors in the summer started to swirl that Bale might be planning a return to England, possibly to a club like Manchester United (NYSE: MANU) or Chelsea. With a younger and relatable coach in Madrid like French legend Zinedine Zidane and a more promising role on the team, Real Madrid was able to keep their long-term investment, with the hope Bale can one day be the face of Real Madrid FC.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 8th print edition.
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