MADRID: Gareth Bale's exceptionally stylish and three-point goal for Real Madrid on Sunday (December 9) was notable for several reasons.
Did you know that this gave you only five strokes more than a century of goals to The Whites … right? No, probably not.
Unless you are the president of the valuation society of Gareth Bale or your occasional interventionist agent, then you are probably of the opinion that he never contributes, he is permanently in a drought, he is not a Christian, mate! and that there is very little to recommend your spell in Spain.
This is the meaningless image that will be sold if you listen to fake Spanish media: he is a darling when he wins a trophy with a world-class goal but a brutally easy target when things are rough. The truth is much more positive and much more subtle.
Be within five of the 100 goals scored by Madrid, given Bale's record, the fact that he is not a true striker and that much of his time in a white shirt was shared with one of the most prolific football players. of all time is quite remarkable.
So is the regularity with which he produces these goals in the finals: Copa del Rey, Champions League, World Club Cup.
So is the goal standard he produces regularly. Choose your favorite: What about the crucial goal in the victory of the Champions League in Kiev last season?
Or the literally extraordinary goal he scored to win the 2014 Copa del Rey final, during which he seemed to rush out of the stadium, back to the stadium still Marcelo Bartra made the equalizer at home to win the Cup and misery for Barca.
What about the thunder of last season in Dortmund? Totally bright. So good is the list of his top five goals in Madrid that the wonderfully controlled winner and "I can do it with eyes closed" in Huesca last weekend did not come close.
What was also remarkable about the goal of the Welshman midfielder was that Real Madrid failed to aggravate the situation. That was partly because Huesca's Serbian goalkeeper Alex Jokanovic made some good saves from Bale and produced another that was world-class. Oscar winner.
We know that the main failure of Madrid in La Liga is the score of goals scored. While judging from the Spanish media's obsession with whether or not Bale has sufficient results and whether or not he is a suitable and appropriate substitute for a phenomenon, you would never know that.
While Barcelona dominates domestically, they have, without exception, suffered fewer goals than The Whites.
Since Pep Guardiola took over in 2008-09, Barcelona suffered, he added, 91 fewer goals than their historic rivals. Think of that number for a second. It's extraordinary.
We also learned, I believe, that Santi Solari has made a number of very good decisions since he took over, changed the training regime and physical conditioning (subtle but successful) and that Madrid is genuinely in the race for the first three times in his career. story.
Is that the sound of you spitting? I know I know. It seems totally improbable, right? Really lazy? Well, here's the theory.
At the moment, the Real is not as far away from league leaders as they were last season on the same stage. The damage from their heinous months since the summer has not yet torpedoed them below the water line.
They should not really be in shape to win the fourth consecutive Champions League for a number of reasons: no club has ever done it, they have lost Ronaldo's extraordinarily great appetite for great times that should change their way if you re make history, and his goals net balance is significantly worse than at this stage last season.
But they won their group, they played their best football of the season, by far, on European nights and … this is the Madrid we are talking about. They win this competition as easily as all the rest of us breathe or eat.
As for La Liga? Well, it also seems against, but the key factor here is that no team has yet made a case that they are irrevocable favorites. Barcelona paints like champions again: this is obvious. But did they seem vulnerable? Yes.
Barcelona are more interested in winning the Champions League? Yes. And who knows what the season has for its top players in terms of form and fitness.
My only point here is that if you were Santi Solari, five points back and looking at an Atleti team stuttering for victory, Diego Costa will not have back to the team until spring and he will not have the best of the Brazilian striker to who knows when, then you would be saying to yourself, "We can win this title."
Sorry Sevilla, it's fun while you're there playing it that way, but the title, as you well know, is a bridge too far.
As for La Copa? Well, Real Madrid has not genuinely valued it for a few seasons – since they've gotten used to winning again, basically – but with a wind and a minimum of effort, it's far from out of the question.
In fact, if I were Solari, eager to make an impact, hopeful to defend José Mourinho and Joachim Low who, I believe, are lining up for Madrid's work in the summer, so maybe you're targeting the cup and using great efforts . to win it so your resume looks cool in May. You may disagree with me, but you also know it is not a scandalous proposition.
Anyway, the fact is that for this to become a possibility, Madrid needs to get addicted to what happened in Huesca.
There, on Sunday afternoon, Madrid kept a clean chip. It's true that no one knows exactly how, but they did. Poor Gonzalo Melero, who was once a Real Madrid player under the tutelage of Zinedine Zidane, missed an unmissable chance to reach the equalizer, and if I do not make a mistake, he will still be pulling out his hair and moaning "Like oh as I messed up? "
So here's the point about the 1-0 win and the goal of Gareth Bale's masterpiece. This is the first winter transfer market in which a club like Real Madrid can, if you want, make a specific purchase to solve your most obvious problems – that is, a glaring tendency to grant many and a small problem with the addition of crucial goals – and then use that player in the Champions League playoffs.
For that reason, if I were one of the clubs that should have qualified in the group stage, but did not (choose what you prefer) and you will now lose € 30 or € 40 million as a result, I would be very, very worried receive a phone call from Madrid's vice president, José Angel Sanchez, asking for a price for my high-quality striker or striker.
And think about how tempting it would be for a player to offer the chance to go to Madrid in January and make four really good appearances (in eight matches) away from winning the Champions League.
Madrid – now well-trained, more apt, sporting more urgent athletics via Marcos Llorente, Sergio Reguilon, Federico Valverde and Dani Ceballos, with Thibaut Courtois playing out of his skin, with Bale passing his goal century with Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka . Modric shaking the hangover of the World Cup and with a sagacious purchase or two in the transfer market?
Well, I think it's a pretty attractive and interesting prospect.
This article first appeared on ESPN.com.