October 8, 2018

Player Feature: Real Madrid ace Gareth Bale

One of the fastest footballers in the world

Full Name: Gareth Frank Bale

Birthdate: July 16, 1989

Place of Birth: Wales

Football Club (Currently): Real Madrid

Position(s): Forward/Winger

Playing Years: 2006 to present

Formative Years and Football Career:

Gareth Bale started playing football at the age of nine. He was playing for his first club, Cardiff Civil Service, when he caught the attention of English club Southampton in 1999. In 2006, at the age of 16 years old, he became the second youngest player to play for Southampton. He made his debut for the club in 2-0 victory against Millwall. He scored his first league goal during a match against Derby County where he secured a 1-1 draw. By the end of his first season with Southampton, he was awarded the BBC Wales Young Sports Personality of the Year and the Football League Young Player of the Year. He scored five goals in a total of 45 appearances for the club.

The next season, Bale signed a four-year contract with Tottenham Hotspur. He played his first game for the club during a scrimmage with St. Patrick’s Athletic in 2007. He made his competitive debut for the Spurs in August during a match against Manchester United. In season 2009-10, he suffered a knee injury and went through surgery in June, causing him to be sidelined for more than two months. He made his comeback in September when he played as a substitute in Tottenham’s 5-o victory against Burnley. By the end of the season, he was named as the Player of the Round when he led the club to a 3-1 win during the FA Cup against Fulham. In August 2010, he notched the match-winning goal in a 2-1 North London derby victory against Arsenal. Three days later, he repeated his stunning performance during the match against Arsenal when he scored Tottenham’s winning goal in a 2-1 win against Chelsea, becoming the Man of the Match and the Premier League Player of the Month for April.

He spent three more seasons with the Spurs, setting up and scoring goals to help the Spurs secure a place in the Champions League, Premier League, and in the Europa League. Due to his stunning performances, he earned a series of awards such as the 2010 Welsh Player of the Year, 2010 BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year, 2011 UEFA Team of the Year, 2012 Premier League Player of the Month, 2013 Player of the Month for February, 2013 BBC’s Goal of the Month in January and February, 2013 Young Player of the Year and 2013 FWA Footballer of the Year.

As of now, Gareth Bale plays as a Forward/Winger for Real Madrid and Wales national team. He made his senior international debut for the country in 2006, also becoming the youngest player at that point to represent Wales. He is also Wales’ highest scorer of all time, earning 70 caps and 30 international goals. His performance in the national team secured their place in the UEFA Euro 2016.

Real Madrid

Gareth Bale moved to the Bernabeu and signed with Real Madrid on a six-year deal. His first-half season with the club was full of injuries, missing five of Real’s first 16 matches following his signing. He scored his first goal during his debut for the club in a match against Villareal. In November 2013, he scored a 25-yard free kick in a Champions League fixture against Galatasaray, a match which the club bagged a 4-1 victory. Bale ended the month with his first hat-trick for the Spanish outfit, securing a 4-0 win against Real Valladolid. Gareth Bale ended his first season with Real Madrid with 22 goals and 16 assists throughout the competition.

The Welsh striker was in good form for the following season, playing a full 90-minute match and assisting Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal during a 2-0 victory against Sevilla to bag the 2014 UEFA Super Cup. In December 2014, he scored the second goal during a 2-0 victory against San Lorenzo, helping the club win the FIFA Club World Cup.  The next season was also remarkable for the Real striker. Bale became a regular starter ever since Real Madrid won the 2015-2016 UEFA Champions League, being the one who assisted the team’s only goal during the match against Atletico Madrid to secure their win.

In seasons 2016-17 and 2017-18, despite sustaining multiple injuries, he was able to start in 19 games for Real Madrid as they won their 33rd La Liga title. After being sidelined for more than a month, he made his comeback during the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final with the team coming out victorious. Recently, Gareth Bale is among the five players to be nominated for this year’s Ballon d’Or award. Known for his ability to strike a goal from a distance, swerving free kicks, and his skill to get past defenders with swift strides, Gareth Bale is regarded as one of the fastest football players in the world.

By @EliaasMJ

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