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When Gareth Bale Showed 99 Pace To End Marc Bartra

When Gareth Bale Showed 99 Pace To End Marc Bartra

Gareth Bale stunned Cristiano Ronaldo, impressed Usain Bolt and blew away Marc Bartra when he scored a goal like no other in the 2014 Copa del Rey final.

Bartra probably did the smart thing by cynically pushing Real Madrid's No 11 off the pitch when he picked up the ball on halfway. But as Carlo Ancelotti appealed for the foul, Bale simply ran off the pitch, through his manager's technical area, before sprinting back on to collect the ball - while Bartra coughed on his dust.

Poor Marc. You can see his legs tighten up as he realises the F1 car he's racing has taken the long way round and still absolutely rinsed him.

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Bale, later clocked at 21.54mph, gets to the ball so far ahead of Bartra he even has time for a dodgy first touch before holding off Barca's centre-back (now beaten for speed and strength) and sticking the ball into the net.

Ronaldo, watching in the crowd due to injury, looks amazed as he celebrates Real's winner.

Usain Bolt later called it: "A goal any sprinter in the world would like to score... he's the fastest footballer in the world."

All this after Bale had already played 85 minutes of a fast-paced game that was poised at 1-1 between La Liga's great rivals, before he turned on the afterburners to settle it.

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Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

The remarkable goal helped establish Bale at Real after his £85.3 million move from Tottenham the previous summer.

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"I don't think I've seen anything like it," said teammate Xabi Alonso. "It looked like the ball was going out and he was under pressure - he ran off the pitch to keep it in. It was just amazing."

A dream final for Bale but a nightmare for Bartra, who had equalised for his side earlier in the match. It was the beginning of the end of his Barcelona career, as the then 23-year-old's game time had gradually increased up to the 2013/14 season - but it dipped for the next two in succession.

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Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

In 2016, he was sold to Borussia Dortmund for €8 million, before moving to Real Betis in 2018.

If it's any comfort, Bartra is not the first international defender Bale has embarrassed with his explosive athleticism.

He became a global sensation while at Spurs with a pair of displays against Inter Milan in the Champions League, including him tearing Maicon to pieces in a 3-1 win at White Hart Lane.

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Warning: NSFW if you're a South American full-back.

A welcome reminder that - while Bale sometimes seems more interested in long-range putts than long-range screamers these days - he remains one of fastest, most dynamic players of this era.

Topics: Football, Barcelona, gareth bale, Copa del Rey, Real Madrid

Alex Reid

Alex Reid is a writer at SPORTbible who’s previously strung words together for FourFourTwo, Boxing News, The Guardian and, yes, Cruise International (it’s about big ships, not Tom). Interests range from football and boxing to real sports like WWE and darts. He is not a cage fighter.