The two faces of Bale

On May 26, 2006, a very different Bale than the one we know now made his debut for Wales. He did it hand in hand with Toshack, against Trinidad and Tobago, breaking all records for precocity (with 16 and 315 days). His career in elite football was still unknown. His physical and ball prowess had a downside: his low muscle mass. Maybe that’s why Wenger and Ferguson doubted him when they tried to sign him before that debut. At the time, Bale was a member of Southampson. It was Tottenham who offered first five million, then 10, and took a footballer project that ended up selling Madrid for 101 million euros … “Suddenly he became a boxing heavyweight …”, Ferggie acknowledged over time.

Since that early debut for Wales, the Madridista has prioritized his selection over every other aspect of his career. Educated in the culture of belonging to the Welsh nation in his time at Whitchurch High School (of his promotion are also rugby star Sam Warburton and cyclist Gerain Thomas, Olympic medalist and Tour winner), Bale has taken by right own the witness that John Charles left for local football. Nicknamed the Good Giant, Charles formed a historic trident at Juventus alongside Sívori and Boniperti and, before Bale’s irruption, He was the hero of Wales for having led his team to play a World Cup (1958, in which Wales also reached the quarterfinals to lose to Brazil).

When Bale signed for Madrid, his country’s federation devised a plan for him to lead a new era. The investment made has paid off, but not enough for Wales to play a World Cup again. It was narrowly left out of the Russian one. At least, Bale qualified Wales to play two European Cups, and in France’2016 he reached a historic semi-finals. Now, at 32, he is fighting to get his team into the World Cup in Qatar. Getting it directly is almost a chimera. Wales should win their two remaining games against Belarus and Belgium, and for Belgium to lose one of the two they have pending. All in all, Bale has the repechage almost guaranteed (getting four points or via the Nations League).

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“From the first day I met him and his father, he told us how special Wales was. When we talked to him, he had a chance to play for England. And said: ‘Never say that again if you want to be my agent!’ He’s a fan of Wales. If he makes it to the World Cup, I think it will be his crowning glory, “admitted Barnett days ago in England.

At Real Madrid, it is already normal for Bale to prioritize Wales over Madrid. He returns to play with the dragons after an injury and without having played a minute with the white jersey. “It is highly competitive and it is good for us to shoot it”, Ancelotti resigned himself, preferring to maintain his form with the player, knowing that, in form, there are few with a profile as sharp in attack as his in the squad.

Bale’s face changes when he’s with his team mates. “He is seen in great shape. He’s always in the gym doing things and keeping fit. He is very particular in what he eats. He takes care of his body and he is in good shape ”, defended him yesterday Hennessey goalkeeper, also one of Bale’s best friends. “We all know that he has been a world-class player, it is difficult to put into words what it means to play with him,” Allen conceded … It’s Bale. On Saturday, against Belarus, he will play his 100th game. He will do so 15 years after that historic debut at Toshack’s hand.

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