Gareth Bale: Player profile | Career Stats | Playing Style | Honors | Goals
Gareth Bale is one of those underrated players who always rose from media criticism and silenced them with his blockbuster strikes and performances on the pitch.
However, injuries have prevented Bale's playing time, but he always bounced back and expressed his desire to be a top football player.
Gareth Bale was born in Cardiff, Wales. When he was just 16, he helped his U-18 school’s football team win the Cardiff & Vale Senior Cup. Southampton then recognised his talent, and took no time in landing him in Saint Mary’s Stadium.
Bale made his debut and became their second-youngest player after Theo Walcott. However, the Welshman did not play for Saints for another year, as he joined Tottenham on 25 May 2007 for an initial fee of £5 million.
At Tottenham, Gareth Bale made his mark as he developed into an elite player. His performance against Inter Milan in the 2010/11 UCL season was the highlight of his Spurs career as he destroyed Inter right-back Maicon over the two legs.
But one thing that was constant in his life was injuries because he kept sustaining injuries and his playing time was limited during the season.
However, his burning pace and ability to take on defenders attracted the attention of many big clubs including Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid.
Gareth Bale: Real Madrid Career
After spending five years at Tottenham Hotspurs, Real Madrid made a bid for him and successfully secured his service with a whopping £85.3 million (€100 million), breaking Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of £80 million (€94 million) of most expensive player.
His arrival saw him picking another injury and starting very few games in 2013. Despite being an expensive signing, he didn’t deliver what was expected and drew much media criticism, but eventually, Bale burst onto the scene at Real Madrid as he showed what he was capable of.
When Gareth Bale came to Real Madrid, he didn’t stop as he started his goal-galore, smashing goal after goal.
And one of his famous goals came against Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey final when he outsprinted Barcelona defender Marc Bartra from the half-line. He received praises from his teammates and pundits after his solo goal.
Real Madrid reached the 2014 Champions League final, as Gareth Bale scored a crucial goal in the final to inspire the club to Champions League glory. The Welshman finished his first season with 22 goals and 16 assists in all competitions.
2014-15 was a disappointing season for Real Madrid as they went trophyless. However, from 2016 to 2018 Real Madrid dominated European Football winning three consecutive Champions League titles on the trot with Gareth Bale being an integral part of the team as the Welshman created a devastating partnership upfront with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
In 2016 former Spurs player scored his 43rd La Liga goal surpassing Gary Lineker as the highest scoring British player in the competition.
Only two things were constant for Gareth Bale at Real Madrid, goals and Injuries. This frustrated Real Madrid manager Zidane as his consistency level dropped massively and he became the Spanish media’s prey, and was ridiculed by them from left to right.
But he always bounced back from injuries, as he netted a brace in the Champions League final against Liverpool, a famous bicycle kick and a long-rang goal. Making him the first substitute to score twice in the Champions League final and becoming MOTM.
Subsequently, he achieved his 100 goals milestone and faced backlash from media after his “provocative” goal celebration where he was mocking the opposition fans.
A loan move to Tottenham and return to Real Madrid
Things started to deteriorate between Bale and Zidane as he wanted to leave the club, which he ultimately did and joined Tottenham on loan.
On 3 December 2020, he scored 200 goals of his career. It looked like Bale developed into a new player as he found the back of the net six times in six games.
By the end of the season, he left the club, returned to Real Madrid and picked up another injury. And he is yet to play a game for Real Madrid now.
Gareth Bale: International Career
Bale has been a star player for his country, Wales. When he made his debut for Wales, he was the youngest player to play for Wales At 16 years and 315 days old.
In Euro 2016, the Welshman Inspired his country to Euro 2016 Semi-final and broke many records with his consistent goal-scoring prowess.
However, in the semi-final, they were beaten by Ronaldo’s Portugal. On 22 March 2018, Bale became Wales’s all-time top-scorer with 29 goals surpassing Ian Rush (28).
In Euro 2020, the 32-year-old captained his side and guided them to Euro 2020 qualifiers but were beaten 4-0 by Denmark.
On 24 March 2022 Bale scored twice as he helped his team beat Austria 2-1 and secure the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying playoff final.
Overall career stats
Gareth Bale: Playing Style
At a very young age, Bale was one of the fastest footballers on this planet at his peak. At the beginning of his career, Bale played left-back or left wing-back.
Subsequently, he became a right-sided forward, and he displayed better offensive instincts as compared to his defending.
He was predominantly known for his speed, strength, stamina, and heading ability but was also a great dribbler. Bale was one of the fastest players during his 20s. His speed allowed him to get past defenders with his acceleration and physicality.
If you give him a little space, he will make the most of it and score or create chances. Besides that, he was a free-kick specialist, having scored many free-kicks like the “knuckleball” technique (popularized by Juninho Pernambucano).
The Real Madrid player moved further onto the wings and began scoring goals consistently with his powerful striker. Bale had a habit of scoring from outside the box as his accuracy and amount of power on the ball were always precise.
He used to cause havoc for fullback on the right-wing with his speed and acceleration as he was too fast for them. But once he started ageing, he changed his role to false nine or second-striker.
Gareth Bale: Major Honours
- Tottenham Hotspur Player of the Year: 2012–13
- Welsh Footballer of the Year: 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
- PFA Players’ Player of the Year: 2010–11, 2012–13
- Premier League Player of the Season: 2012–13