Wales won 0-1 away from home against Cyprus tonight and Bale was the one man that made it possible on the pitch.
Not the coach, not the manager, not the other ten average joes. It was Gareth Bale who looked like scoring and actually did score.
During that match I wondered why hasn’t Gareth Bale played like that for Real Madrid. You know what I mean when I say ‘like that’.
Like that as in like Messi. Not like going past players at will but like dominating the game at will.
Like being calm and collected on the ball and doing whatever you feel like doing. That was what Gareth Bale looked like tonight against Cyprus.
For most of the match Cyprus did not even look towards the other ten players playing for Wales.
Whenever they lost possession they would run straight towards Gareth Bale, knowing that with Gareth Bale covered, the Wales team was as dangerous as a butterfly.
If this was the Gareth Bale Real Madrid paid all those millions for, I don’t think anyone would have a problem with him and we certainly would not be talking about trading Gareth Bale with De Gea (plus a lot of money of course).
But to be this good, many commentators have indicated that Real Madrid need to get rid of Ronaldo.
Now before you arrive to any conclusions, you must know it is Ronaldo’s own fault.
Everyone knows Ronaldo would never agree to being the 2nd most important player in the team and hence that is a big problem when there is a player who can, now, be more useful to the team.
It is like that situation at Barcelona when Messi was an up and coming youngster. Some smart people at Barcelona recognized that in order for Messi to become the Messi of 2015 (and all the previous magical years) Barcelona would have to get rid of Ronaldinho, Eto’o and Deco.
Now of course, Ronaldinho, Eto’o and Deco had terrorized defenders throughout Europe for I don’t know how long but Barcelona being the club that it is, had little regards for what had passed and hence decided to offload everyone who could become an obstruction to Messi’s path as the king of Camp Nou.
Once all the big egos were gone, Messi had a chance to shine and boy did he shine or what.
Bale is in that position. Or at least that is what everyone thinks needs to happen. May be Bale won’t deliver but one thing is for sure, Bale will not deliver if Ronaldo is, at the very least, not sidelined.
Here are the five things Gareth Bale did last night which made me think that Ronaldo needs to be sold off by Real Madrid:
- Gareth Bale scored a fantastic header in the 80th minute of the match tonight. Boy what a thumping header it was from just inside the penalty area.
Even though it wasn’t directed into the absolute corner of the net but it was hit with such power that the goalkeeper that little time to react to Gareth Bale’s awesome bullet of a header.
It was the only goal of the game and perhaps was fitting that it was scored by Gareth Bale.
Gareth Bale had been patient all night. Had tolerated two to three players who were always marking him whenever Cyprus lost possession of the ball.
But when the chance came (a half a chance for anyone else. For Messi, it was not even a chance because he can’t jump to be honest) Gareth Bale rose up and blasted the ball. With his head.
- Throughout the game Gareth Bale’s passing was very precise and very meaningful.
No, he didn’t have much to offer in the way of through balls but in general play, he did not lose possession of the ball that much and was able to find his teammates whenever he didn’t see a way through the Cyprus wall.
His distribution of the ball was brilliant throughout the game. Whenever Cyprus defenders thought that Bale was going to make one of his trademark runs, Bale passed the ball.
That simple strategy keeps the defenders in a ‘will he, won’t he’ situation and that is exactly what speedsters such as Gareth Bale want.
They want the defenders to be unsure about what they are about to do with the ball and can use that hesitation to their advantage by going past them on the wings inside or outside.
- Gareth Bale showed good ball control. He didn’t remind me of Zidane but I think that much ball control would be unrealistic for any player.
He looked comfortable on the ball on a badly conditioned pitch.
Was the pitch tonight rough or what? Something tells me it was not by chance that the pitch was in a such a poor condition and was also pretty hard.
Teams normally do that to stop fast players from being too penetrative with their pace and touch.
- Gareth Bale also showed some tremendous pace. There was one chance towards the end of first half when Gareth Bale looked like through on goal but the defender slid in, not knowing what was next.
Luckily, the defender’s foot hit the ball when Bale tried to knock the ball ahead of him away from the defender.Konstantinos Laifis if your interested.
The defender’s name was
- Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale showed tonight that why Ronaldo should be banned from taking anymore free kicks on the pitch.
Bale’s 35 yard free kick which dipped like hell and rattled the goalkeeper was something to behold.
Yeah, he didn’t score from it but it was very close. The keeper parried it in front of him and had it not been for the other ten average joes playing for Wales, Bale could have had an assist on his direct free kick.
Gareth Bale does have his weaknesses though and those weaknesses aren’t like Messi’s i.e Messi can work around his weaknesses by being insanely good in other areas. Bale’s are:
- his close control could be better. Actually it is his size that is the problem.
That is also the reason why Ronaldo hasn’t and Bale probably never will be able to dance around multiple defenders like Messi does.
But we have seen Zidane do that in the past against multiple credible defenders, so it is possible.
Bale has to work to improve his comfort level on the ball around the penalty area where defenders are snapping at your heals.
- Bale also has to widen his range of shots. Right now, like Ronaldo and unlike Messi, Bale needs a very specific position and an very specific angle to take shots from.
That is a big limitation against teams who defend by the book for ninety minutes.
One reason Messi is able to score so many goals is because he can take shots from positions and angles where defenders and goalkeepers aren’t expecting.
Messi takes shots from positions, he thinks, defenders have not been taught how to defend and neither are goalkeepers taught to expect a shot.
Hence goalkeepers don’t have the body movement to make a save and defenders don’t have the shape to block Messi’s shots.
Bale can take pointers from Messi of course.
Bale showed tonight that he is a born leader but he needs specific conditions to thrive in.
Like Messi, and unlike Ronaldo in this case, Bale requires a very specific style of play (of the whole team, not just attack or his position individually) to be effective which though is a bit of a limitation but Messi has shown that, that constraint can be a beautiful constraint.
Wales now need to win against Israel in Cardiff in their next match to qualify for Euro 2016 in France.