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A video of Gareth Bale's best moments in Madrid is getting lots of love as Real fans recall the spectacular contributions of their No 11 before he leaves on loan to Tottenham.
Bale's departure has dragged as he looked set to exit a year ago, but didn't and was frozen out of the team by Zinedine Zidane at the end of the 2019/20 season. Yet his seven years brought a host of trophies and 105 goals - many of them absolute worldies, as the video shows.
From defender-shredding runs to unstoppable volleys to unsavable free-kicks, the full array of Bale goals is here - and he's doing it on the biggest stages. Sit back and enjoy two minutes of brilliance.
Let's remember THIS Gareth Bale!@GarethBale11 pic.twitter.com/xQ3u66hsur
- MadridistaTV (@madridistatvYT) September 17, 2020
Perhaps the fact that so many of his strikes are sensational solo goals, rather than team efforts, explains both Bale's success and occasional tough times in Madrid.
As an individual talent, he regularly shone and won several games almost single-handedly.
In his first season alone, his counterattacking run destroyed Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final, while his extra-time header against Atletico Madrid put Real Madrid ahead in the Champions League final (both goals are in the video).
That's before we even get to 2018 and his overhead kick against Liverpool - arguably the greatest UCL final goal ever, alongside Zidane's own volley in 2002.
Yet there's also a feeling that Bale never fully fitted in at Madrid, despite his individual genius. Niggling injuries also prevented him from filling Cristiano Ronaldo's shoes in the way the club had hoped when they signed him from Tottenham for £85.3 million in 2013.
Yet, despite the sour taste of the last two seasons, there's no doubt history will be kind to a player who lifted four Champions League titles plus numerous other trophies - and produced some of the most memorable goals even Los Blancos supporters have ever seen.
I'm not sure what Madrid fans want. He scored crucial goals to win 2x Champions League finals and THAT goal against Barca in the Copa del Rey final!! Most other clubs would have a statue of him up.- Elliott Aspinall (@ElliottAspinall) September 18, 2020
One fan even suggests any other player who's achieved so much at a club would be getting a statue outside the ground.
Perhaps they could compromise and put one in full Real Madrid kit as an 18th-hole obstacle on the local crazy golf course and everybody would be happy.
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