Gareth Bale – The Making of a Galactico
Written by @Ievans93
“…and Bale is in space again here… and Lennon has picked him out. Oh this is incredible! This is quite incredible! Gareth Bale has scored a hattrick at the San Siro!”
Inter Milan 4:3 Tottenham Hotspur | Gareth Bale – 3 goals
October 20th, 2010. That night at the San Siro that set Gareth Bale’s name in football folklore. It was in fact, as Gareth himself claims, the night that changed his footballing career forever. Having presented himself onto the European stage as a player of immense quality, he soon became a name on the books of some of Europe’s most notable clubs, none more so than his current employer, Real Madrid. But it has not always been such a fairytale, his modest beginnings at Cardiff Civil Service, and then those weekly trips to Bath to train at the Southampton academy. All small steps in what has become Gareth Bale’s journey to joining an illustrious history of footballing Gods at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Born in Whitchurch, Cardiff, Gareth Bale’s break into a life of football stardom came after he was scouted at a game for his local side; Cardiff Civil Service by Southampton’s scouting network. Upon signing, Bale and would have to make his way up the M4 from his Cardiff home to Bath on the weekly to Southampton’s satellite academy, before heading down to Southampton as a youth player on a Saturday where he then went on to become the clubs youngest ever player to feature in the first XI.
Following a transfer to Tottenham, and the rough road Gareth had to endure before excelling in his new position in a more advanced wide position, he was a part of a Tottenham team (managed then by Harry Redknapp), that went 4-0 down at the iconic San Siro before Bale’s infamous hattrick, and the defrocking of Inter’s Maicon in what turned out to be a historic night in European football. I imagine Madrid’s President Florentino Perez was loosening the tie around his neck and rubbing his hands together at the prospect of signing the one of the world’s best players. Few people know that at half time Redknapp faced a challenge, with Everton in the league on Saturday, and this tie surely out of the reach of his defeated Tottenham side; he gathered his coaches together and asked what he should do at half time. They all recommended he take of Gareth and replace him. Redknapp, as we all now know, did not take this advice. Gareth, the stage is yours.
What followed after the Italian Job, was Gareth’s escalation into football stardom. His performances both internationally and for his club, along with his fantastic goal record brought him to the day everyone dreams of as a child. When you start out in grassroot football, you have a 0.015% chance of becoming a Premier League footballer, Gareth has smashed those statistics and on September 1st, 2013, Gareth Bale alongside Florentino Perez put pen to paper on a 6-year deal which made him the first Welshman to sign for the Spanish giants; Real Madrid.
As a Welshman myself, I have been fortunate to see a lot of Gareth as a player, and he truly is immense to watch. His change of speed is something that separates him. He can run at what looks like full pace, only to be going at 80-90% before finding the other 10% to beat his defender. I was watching him recently in the international game against Iceland, and in my years of watching football, I have not seen many players who can consistently show they have the ability to do something every time they touch the ball. He has now, proven a massive asset to Coleman and co as he demands the best from everyone, and he also combines power, strength, speed, attitideu and ability, proving that he is one of the best players in the world, a real contender for the third spot, behind Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, respectively.
Gareth has also proven deadly from the dead ball with his free kicks. Having the ability to hit a ball like Gareth does is a massive asset to any team. Real Madrid’s ability to hit freekicks from anywhere inside 35 yards, left or right with either Ronaldo or Bale is something that teams simply cannot defend. On the right I have created a step by step guide to how Bale hits his freekicks, it is fairly similar to Ronaldo’s style, but it shows the fine details that they have gone into.
The most important steps in Gareth’s freekicks are highlighted in step 1-5. Hitting the valve is what enables Bale to get the required movement on the ball; hitting this valve is what causes the ball to spin. In addition, stage four highlights that Bale hits the ball flat with the inside of his foot, which acts as a slap at the ball, which gives it the relevant power to dip up and over the wall. To start, just practise hitting the valve with your instep, then move on to focusing on your body position, with your torso straight, this will help the direction required with your foot. It is best to take 4 steps back, and then angle yourself slightly to the left or right, this depending on the side of the goal you want to hit.
The future for Gareth is exciting, with him now playing on the world stage at the biggest club in the world, he has at his disposal the chance to become one of the greatest, and we all have to consider ourselves lucky to have such a talent playing in our generation.
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“Wonderful strength from Gareth Bale they try to take him down but didn’t manage it, Bale up against Arnason here. Still bale, he’s got his goal! Absolutely, first class from Gareth Bale. Oh my word, absolutely sensational, he really is!”
Wales 3 – 1 Iceland | Gareth Bale 1 goal, 2 assists.