Gareth Bale shone in his debut season at Real Madrid under former coach Carlo Ancelotti, scoring a sensational solo-goal against FC Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final and the goal to give Madrid the go-ahead in the pursuit of the ‘La Decima’ dream.
Fast forward twelve months, and many Madridistas are unsure of what the Welsh wizard has to offer for the future.
At Tottenham Hotspur, Bale rose to stardom when deployed on the left flank, providing stunning assists and outpacing defenders with ease. When Andre Villas-Boas took over, Bale was shifted to the right wing initially, before being placed behind the striker, where the footballing world witnessed his goalscoring prowess.
Similarly, Bale leads the attacking frontline for his national team, where the expectations of a nation are placed largely on his shoulders. On the brink of creating history and leading his side to a major international tournament since 1958, Gareth Bale seems to flourish as the main man.
At Real Madrid, however, Bale has been forced to adapt to the right wing, where it now seems that he is least effective.
Madrid President Florentino Pérez is unlikely to offload the ‘100 million euro man’, as all signs point to an even brighter future for the 25-year-old.
What is clear, however, is that new coach Rafael Benítez will have a headache when deciding his preferred attacking line-up. With the colossal amount of talent currently present at Madrid and that to possibly arrive during the summer, Benítez must be careful to not restrict Bale of the much needed freedom he requires.
With idol and already club legend Cristiano Ronaldo earmarked to finally transform into a ‘No. 9’, Bale is unlikely to lead the attacking frontline. Yet, with a new coach and fresh ideas, Bale may enjoy the possibility of playing down the left flank, connecting with talisman Ronaldo and co. with ease.
Madrid fans have always been very demanding – of players and coaches alike. In an interview with Real Madrid TV, Benítez pleaded for patience, and the Madrid faithful would be right to listen. With rumours suggesting that Bale is set to become a key player under Benítez, the future looks promising for Madrid.