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.