A few weeks on the links clearly haven't affected Gareth Bale's world class form. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema sidelined, the Welshman stepped back on the pitch and tallied a brace for Real Madrid in their season opener. In fact, it only took the forward 72 seconds to make his presence known.
After finishing off the 2015-16 campaign as a champion and leading Wales to a semi-final appearance in the EUROs, Bale's confidence is evidently through the roof. It's not surprising that the Welshman kicked off the hunt for la Duodécima with a goal, but there's not a Madridista alive that can honestly say they expected Bale to add himself to the score sheet that quickly.
The Welshman hovered into the danger zone and effortlessly positioned himself between Real Sociedad's central defenders. Bale's awareness is top class. He glances over his shoulder twice, keeping Mikel Gonzalez on his back while creating space between himself and Inigo Martinez. The Spanish defender is completely oblivious to the fact that the most dangerous player on the pitch just drifted into a pocket of space over his left shoulder.
Dani Carvajal spotted the opportunity and dropped a pinpoint cross onto Welshman's head. A simple snap of the neck and Real Sociedad quickly found themselves swimming in the deep end.
Upon first glance, it's a relatively simple goal. However, broken down, it's Gareth Bale at his finest. And of course, as Ray Hudson beautifully described it, Carvajal's cross was a "diamond of a ball."
Although, one goal wasn't enough for the Welshman. Even though Marco Asensio secured the three points for Real with a beautiful flick at the end of the first half, Bale added another at the death. He knifed through Real Sociedad's defense with a perfectly timed run. James Rodriguez's sublime through-ball resulted in acres of space for Bale who simply maneuvered around Geronimo Rulli and slid his shot into an open net.
Bale created chances for 90 minutes and was the focal point of Real Madrid's attack. He displayed a heightened leadership ability and made it clear that he doesn't have any intentions of regressing in Zinedine Zidane's sophomore season. It's relieving for Madridistas as Cristiano isn't getting any younger. The Portuguese is still magnificent and boasts a renowned physique, as seen in GQ, but he's on the wrong side of 30 and Bale is evidently ready to shine in his absence.