[dropcap]H[/dropcap]e is a boy wonder, a human dynamite capable of hitting a ball with such a dynamic ferocity that its impact on the opposition net is usually glaring. His continuous ascension towards the pinnacle of world football in the last three years has been truly astonishing yet devastating for opposition defenders who have been left in his wake, and he is also tactically sound. His ability to play across all the front three attacking positions and still inflict maximum damage on opponents in a Tottenham Hotspurs team that often blew hot and cold last season gives credence to the hype showered on this amazing athlete who often dragged his team across the finish line for long spells last season. His name is Gareth Bale, the Welsh football wizard who is the subject of an astonishing world record bid to transfer his services to Real Madrid. A world record bid?

Gareth Bale is a welsh player who does not need introduction. His exploits over the last few years in English football has been simply phenomenal.  Voted the best player in the English league by his peers in 2011, his upward trajectory towards being one of the game’s best players has been magnificent to watch. Many will recall the demolition of SAN SIRO when Bale completely ran ragged the Inter Milan defence scoring a hat trick in a Champions league match against Internationale the competitions defending champions at that time. The second leg was even worse; the world’s best right back at that time Maicon was thoroughly humiliated by Bale whose unstoppable running down the left flank made Maicon a defender in his prime look old, tired and helpless. Bale was simply unstoppable at that point. Gallant performances against rivals like Arsenal, Aston Villa and Twente simply stretched that fact. 2010 – 2011 was a break out year for the emerging talent. He was also voted into the UEFA team of the year for 2011.

Fast forward two years and Gareth Bale is a wanted man for those than can afford him. He is a man entering his peak and definitely the most exciting talent on English soil. His supreme performances last season in English football where he scooped every major individual award available to him made him the most electrifying superstar in English football. In a Tottenham side that was rather inconsistent he was consistent scoring goals left and right including the screamer against Sunderland on the last day which unfortunately was not enough to qualify his team for the UEFA champions league. Under Andre Vilas Boas, Bale’s talents were harnessed to maximum productivity, the system used by Vilas Boas gave Bale more freedom and responsibility and he reciprocated the manager’s faith in him by scoring goals and giving the team edge on a regular bases. He was often regarded as the sole man in the team which was often a harsh criticism on spurs but the statistics made it difficult to deny. Gareth Bale scored 21 goals which were approximately 31% of goals scored by Tottenham hotspurs last season in the English premier league last season and more damming for spurs, it was more than the combination of goals scored by Tottenham hotspurs main striking duo Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermaine Defoe. His swashbuckling plays that were laced with outrageous goals created so many wow moments. For a man with the talents that Bale has, he should be in one of the best teams in the world playing champions league football constantly, vying for world footballer of the year gongs, and winning trophies. At Tottenham it is hard to see Bale achieving most of these things.

Step forward Real Madrid the greatest team of the 20th century, the club of the Galaticos. There is no sight as scary for opposition players as that of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, marauding the flanks for Real Madrid. These are two players of the highest physical specimen who are extremely talented. Ronaldo is the current holder of the world record football transfer for a player at the age of 28 he is a force to be reckoned with. His amazing ability is only usurped by the greatest player of this generation Lionel Messi but when it comes to individual attributes useful in the attacking sphere he trumps almost every player. Gareth Bale has being compared to Ronaldo and rightly so. He deserves such comparison though he is not yet at that level of Cristiano Ronaldo but how many are at that level. He is a better team player than Ronaldo and has better defensive abilities so will be very handy in winning back possession, he is not as skilful as Cristiano Ronaldo but makes for this with a speed which is almost as explosive as ‘light’ just ask Newcastle’s back line and they will tell you more about that devastating pace of Bale. He is not yet the complete product but under the tutelage of veteran coach Carlo Ancelotti he can be the world best player and just like Ronaldo he is a marketing tool. With his face exclusively promoted on a massive billboard at times square, New York he is the advertisement used to invite subscribers to view English football in the States, he has his trade mark heart shape patented and he is a face of the Addidas brand. He is in simple terms a Galatico. Barcelona, the biggest rivals of Real Madrid splashed out more than fifty million pounds to buy Neymar a prodigious talent who has won everything winnable in the highest level of South American football. He is the kind of player Madrid want, supremely talented and a marketing dream. His transfer to Barcelona was an eye opener as he was coveted by many teams in Europe including Real Madrid who offered him more money to join them. He turned them down; it was crushing for a club of Madrid’s stature and more crushing for the ego of Florentino Perez the Real Madrid president who has overseen two galatico projects already. Barcelona laid down a marker, Messi and Neymar were positioned as the two heavyweights like the combo of Ronaldinho and Eto’o, Romario and Stoichkov, Kluivert and Rivaldo that will guarantee national and world domination. Real Madrid had to strike back and for a team that has broken the world transfer record four times in the last thirteen years they sure do know how to up the ante.

In year 2000, when Luis Figo made his move from Barcelona to Real Madrid for  a world record 37 million pounds he was an established player. He was the best player for both Portugal and Barcelona leading his team to the quarter final stage of euro 96. He also won the UEFA winners’ cup in 1997, two La Liga titles and was the European footballer of the year in 2000. When Zinedine Zidane was signed in 2001 from Juventus for 53 million pounds, he had a more glittering award haul than Figo, he had two Serie A titles, played in successive UEFA Champions league finals. He had won the World cup in 1998 with France and the European Championship two years later. He also was voted the best player on the planet twice in 1998 and in 2000. He was an undisputed legend in the game. Eight years later, Real Madrid signed Brazilian Maestro Kaka from A.C Milan for 56 million pounds. Kaka was also a former world footballer of the year, with an impressive collage of trophies which included the 2002 Fifa world cup, one Serie A title, one Champions league title, two confederations cup titles and a fifa player of the year gong. Real were not done because that same summer in 2009 they shattered the world record again by paying 80 million pounds for the current World footballer of the year at that time Cristiano Ronaldo who had won every individual award available to him at that time coupled with a UEFA Champions league title in 2008, a silver medal in the 2009 edition of that competition, three consecutive premier league titles wrestled away from Chelsea, a final appearance at the euro 2004 competition and had carved his name into the folklore of footballing history. These players had achieved the highest they could achieve in their respective fields before making that career glittering transfer to Real Madrid for world record sums.

Gareth BaleIn the case of Gareth Bale, he does not have any major international individual honour. His nationality, as a Welsh man will certainly deprive him of any major honour on the international front unless something miraculous happens to the talent pool of footballers in Wales. In addition to the fact that he has not competed in any major continental and international cup competition barring that tournament appearance in the UEFA Champions league in 2010-11 as his only exposure to high quality continental and international footballing systems. In hindsight Bale has not done enough to prove the record transfer fee he is set to command. His club not been a member of the ‘elite’ of world football and thus a reason for his lack of major continental awards would definitely be thrown out there as a reason, it is definitely a reason but one that should not hold if you consider the almighty feats performed by Diego Maradona who took Napoli who were constantly fighting for relegation to a team that won two Serie A titles and a European title which coincidentally are the only trophies won by Napoli in those competitions. Maradona had also broken a world record and took a less fancied team, a southern Italian team at that time to the pinnacle of Italian football.  It was a feat of legendary status.

That Gareth Bale deserves to go to a club as big as Madrid is a foregone conclusion, his talent merits the biggest of audiences and fan adulations, and he is a fantastic player who would add incredible quality, goals and money to any club. It would also give him the chance to compete for top awards both individually and team awards but for 83 million plus pounds that is ridiculous.

Fact to ponder, that figure is more than Oscar, Juan Mata, and Eden Hazard combined, the heralded three amigos in Chelsea common!

Is Gareth Bale really worth that?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                 – Prince Akaranta

IMAGE CREDIT: Jan S0l0, vagebone

(H/T JuniorMessi10)