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El Clasico 2014: Gareth Bale to Carry Real's Scoring Burden in Copa del Rey Final

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Without Cristiano Ronaldo, the Welsh must prove himself as one of the world's greatest attackers

Denis Doyle

Real Madrid fans are hoping to see Gareth Bale's trademark celebration this night. Without Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale will need to carry Real Madrid's goalscoring burden and take care of free-kicks and penalty-kicks as well. Karim Benzema is not a pure poacher, and neither is Isco, so Bale will be Ancelotti's main offensive threat.

Furthermore, Bale's size and aerial skills could also be useful against Barcelona's undersized defensive line. With Mascherano and Adriano set to start the game as Barcelona's center backs, only Sergio Busquets is taller than Bale. Look for the Cardiff Express, Sergio Ramos and Pepe to exploit that part of the game.

Bale's speed and pace could also be crucial. Jordi Alba is a very fast player, but Bale showed how he could outpace him during Real's 3-4 loss at the Bernabéu. And do not forget Bale's ability to shoot from long-range. Pinto is definitely not Víctor Valdés and it would not be crazy to test him from distance all night long. Bale should also be trying to find space through both wings. If he's struggling on the right, he could switch positions with Di María or Isco to get much more involved.

Bale should also be important in the defensive part of the game. If Barcelona's patience and possession are pushing Madrid back, the Welsh player will need to help his fullback, because Alba and Daniel Alves like to play 2-1s. Bale and Real's central midfielders need to be aware of this in order to prevent a similar goal to the one Andrés Iniesta scored at the Bernabéu, where he attacked Carvajal's back.

In other words, Bale has the tools to be Real's target man. Without Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid will need him this night more than ever.