Welsh winger Bale was mocked for his performance in the Clasico, but responded by single-handedly winning the Copa del Rey for Madrid. He also took a hammering for missing a few good chances in the Champions League final, but went on to score an extra-time winner against Atletico.
So Yahoo! US blogger Brooks Peck decided to run down Bale's history of redemption - and has made some predictions as to how the former Southampton trainee will change the course of football and geopolitical history...
1. From Spurs reject to world-record sale
thought to be cursed, is labelled a flop and subjected to a paltry £3 million offer from Birmingham just two years after Tottenham bought him from Southampton for what ended up being a £7 million fee. Spurs cannily bought out his sell-on clause for around £3m, a move which seemed good business for Southampton but ultimately cost them tens of millions of pounds.
May 2010 — After winning the Premier League player of the month award for April, Bale is rewarded with a new four-year contract for helping Spurs earn a Champions League qualification spot with match winning goals against Arsenal and Chelsea in a three-day span.
October 2010 — Having been moved from left back to left wing earlier in the season, Bale and Spurs find themselves down 4-0 and playing with 10 men by half-time at Inter Milan in the Champions League group stage. In the second half, Bale scores his first professional hat trick, completely destroying UEFA defender of the year Maicon in the process. Though they still lose 4-3 to the reigning Champions of Europe, Spurs win the return match 3-1 and top their group before eventually being eliminated in the quarter-finals. Bale is named PFA Player of the Year at the end of the season, and his performances effectively ruin the career of former Brazil right-back Maicon.
September 2013 — Bale is sold to Real Madrid for between £77 million and £85 million, making him either the most expensive or second most expensive player of all time behind new team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo. The astronomical fee prompts widespread debate about whether he or anyone is worth that much money. Many say he definitely isn't worth it. The combination of his price tag and initial injury struggles prompt intense scrutiny on him and Cristiano Ronaldo himself even asks everyone to back off.
October 2013 — Bale's first few months in Madrid are a bit of a nightmare, his flashes of brilliance interrupted by injury. He is rushed back for the Clasico defeat to Barcelona, and is subbed off on the hour mark. Barcelona's big signing Neymar, meanwhile, shines in the match, leading to mockery of Bale, who was supposed to have been more expensive. That mockery comes back to haunt the Catalans, when it later transpires Neymar cost a lot more than initially though, before the Brazilian's form dips remarkably.
April 2014 — Cementing himself as one of Real Madrid's most dangerous players after getting his injury troubles under control back, Bale scores a season defining goal with an incredible burst of speed in the closing minutes of the Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona. His goal wins the match and Real Madrid's first trophy in nearly two seasons.
ahem) and mockery (double ahem). An injury-time equalizer from Sergio Ramos sends it to extra time and Bale scores the winner in the 110th minute of a match that would end 4-1 in Real Madrid's favour. Bale's goal in his first Champions League final wins the club's long promised 10th European Cup, La Decima. He finishes the season with 22 goals and 16 assists in 44 appearances across all competitions.
3. The future's bright — the future's Bale
July 2016 — Defying all predictions, Wales 'do a Greece' and win Euro 2016, but through Bale's record 10 goals in the tournament instead of defensive prowess. After missing a penalty earlier in the match, Bale gets another chance at a spot kick and makes up for it by scoring the winning goal in the 85th minute of the final with an audacious Panenka.
December 2017 — Bale's friends all agree that he is incapable of hitting a hole in one during a round of golf. He ends up bagging three of them on the final three holes of the round for the supremely rare hole in one hat trick. The president of Augusta National Golf Club appears out of nowhere to give Bale a green jacket for his achievement even though he is not a member of the club nor is a winner of The Masters (yet).
July 2018 — Qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1958, Bale again carries Wales on a miraculous run to the final against host nation Russia, who have unbeatable mutant clones of Vladimir Putin playing all 11 positions. Bale scores the extra-time winner from inside his own half with a shot that sails over the head of goalkeeper Cyclops Putin.
May 2024 — Bale becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amidst vehement opposition given his complete lack of political experience. By the end of the year, he brings about world peace and ends poverty in all corners of the globe.
March 2025 — Given his success as Prime Minister, Bale is named Supreme Leader of a new unified global government. Members of the old establishment and anti-government protesters agree that Bale's new planetary regime will never work, branding it the UNSSR. But work it does...
November 2030 — Aliens make contact with Earth and offer the secret to immortality if we give them Bale. After the deal goes through, alien newspapers say Bale isn't worth such a valuable secret. He proves them wrong by solving all their problems in his first space year on their planet.
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