It’s only recently that the mystery’s been removed. Would Garth Bale live up to the hype that took him away from Southampton? Was he a left back, or a left winger? Could he become a goal-scorer, a carry-the-team-type of talent, or make it in Spain? One goal in last year’s Copa del Rey final won over any lingering critics — those who refused to believe his ascent would persist at the Bernabéu:
His stardom almost ran out of the Mestalla, unable to be contained by Barcelona, boundaries, or projections that he’d have a difficult time replicating his success in Madrid. Once a player scores that goal, the discussion’s over.
Now, one 22-goal season later, and Bale looks like a finishing touch. After years Champions League agony, Real Madrid finally reclaimed the title it considers its own, and, like the rest of the Merengues who helped El Real claim la Decima, Bale earned a piece of immortality.
There were worries that Bale might not settle in Spain, a worry that became an excuse for Michael Owen. At 24 years old, however, Bale jumped in, immediately embracing the capital with the zeal of someone who actually wanted the move. A willing if stellar supporting star, the Welshman has never looked out of place or pressed to meet an expectations — impressive, considering his world-record price tag. If only every talent were so carefree about the Bernabéu.
The ease comes across on Twitter, where more of Bale’s personality continues to come out. As the highest profile Briton on the continent, he enjoys a special fame back home, but among the world’s elites, he’s still carving out his place. Slowly but surely, he’s developing his brand, one that reflects his often awe-inspiring athleticism.
That’s what separates Bale from most. There are gifted men, self-made men, and then there are freaks. Unfortunately, too many freaks find ways to veer off course. As Bale showed this spring at the Mestalla, any attempts to derail his momentum are destined to fail.
The Fake numbers
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