Bale’s relationship with Real Madrid fans has become so strained that it’s easy to forget the impact he had shortly after his record transfer from Tottenham in the summer of 2013.
Although hampered by injury problems at the start of the season, Bale ended the campaign with 22 goals and 16 assists in all competitions, including the extra-time winner in the 2-1 Champions League final win. champions against city rivals Atletico.
The highlight of the lot was arguably their late winner in the 2-1 Copa del Rey win over rivals Barcelona.
After Lionel Messi lost the ball as Barcelona advanced in the 85th minute, Madrid launched a quick and devastating counter.
Fabio Coentrao chose Bale on the left side just inside his own half. Bale hit the beyond around Marc Bartra, darting out of bounds to round the defender, then sprinting clear before slotting the ball into the near post by Jose Manuel Pinto.
“I had to go around the player and out of the field to do it,” Bale said after the game. “It was good to have scored the goal.”
Ahead of the final, Bale had been criticized in the Spanish media for failing to deliver big games, especially against Barcelona, a harbinger of trouble to come in his Madrid career.
A month after his goal against Barca, Bale would also score a 110th-minute winner in the 2-1 win over Atletico to help Madrid win their 10th European Cup, the first of four League titles. champions he won with the club.
On this day in 2014: Gareth Bale scores winner of Copa del Rey final
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