Ben Hayward: From tepid fail to epic Bale, Madrid has a new star

Ben Hayward
Bale spoke to Beckham and Owen ahead of Real Madrid move

Real Madrid fans were left wondering what might have been. Gareth Bale finally showed his considerable quality with an early double and two assists in the Blancos' sensational 7-3 win at home to Sevilla on Wednesday. It was a remarkable response to his doubters and critics - albeit four days too late.

Bale was a surprise starter for Madrid in the Clasico on Saturday, but looked lost at Camp Nou and hardly touched the ball early on in the game. One forward run and a powerful effort fizzed over the bar were his only meaningful contributions in the end as the Welshman went missing for long spells.

Criticism was harsh and forthcoming. Signed for a world-record 100 million euros from Tottenham in the summer, Bale had much to live up to and, although still short of full fitness, his performance on Saturday proved desperately disappointing.