Still just 24 years old, Gareth Bale has already gotten exceptionally good at making people look stupid and doing things that great players sometimes go through their whole career only dreaming about. So now that Real Madrid's 4-1 win over Atletico in the Champions League final is a thing that has undeniably happened, let's take a look at Gareth Bale's history of proving his critics wrong and where he might go in the future if this remarkable trend continues.
October 2009 — Plagued by injuries and having the dubious honor of playing in a record 24 straight matches without a win, 20-year-old Gareth Bale, who was thought to be cursed, is labeled a flop rumored to be the subject of a paltry £3 million offer from Birmingham just two years after Tottenham bought him from Southampton for what ended up being a £7 million fee.
May 2010 — After winning the Premier League player of the month award for April, Bale is rewarded with a new four-year contract for helping Spurs earn a Champions League qualification spot with match winning goals against Arsenal and Chelsea in a three-day span.
October 2010 — Having been moved from left back to left wing earlier in the season, Bale and Spurs find themselves down 4-0 and playing with 10 men by halftime at Inter Milan in the Champions League group stage. In the second half, Bale scores his first professional hat trick, completely destroying UEFA defender of the year Maicon in the process. Though they still lose 4-3 to the reigning Champions of Europe, Spurs win the return match 3-1 and top their group before eventually being eliminated in the quarterfinals. Bale is named PFA Player of the Year at the end of the season.
May 2013 — Named both the PFA Young Player of the Year and Player's Player of the Year at the end of a 2012/13 season in which he scored 26 goals across all competitions, Bale has been the subject of on and off interest from Real Madrid for months. Doubts are raised as to whether he's worth the £50 million fee the Spanish club were supposedly willing to pay for him.
September 2013 — Bale is sold to Real Madrid for between £77 million and £85 million, making him either the most expensive or second most expensive player of all time behind new teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. The astronomical fee prompts widespread debate about whether he or anyone is worth that much money. Many say he definitely isn't worth it. The combination of his price tag and initial injury struggles prompt intense scrutiny on him and Cristiano Ronaldo himself even asks everyone to back off.
April 2014 — Cementing himself as one of Real Madrid's most dangerous players after getting his injury troubles under control back in October, Bale scores a season defining goal with an incredible burst of speed in the closing minutes of the Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona. His goal wins the match and Real Madrid's first trophy in nearly two seasons.
May 2014 — Bale misses several excellent chances throughout regular time of the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid, eliciting jokes (ahem) and mockery (double ahem). An injury-time equalizer from teammate Sergio Ramos sends it to extra time and Bale scores the winner in the 110th minute of a match that would end 4-1 in Real Madrid's favor. Bale's goal in his first Champions League final wins the club's long promised 10th European Cup. He finishes the season with 22 goals and 16 assists in 44 appearances across all competitions.
July 2016 — Defying all predictions, Wales "do a Greece" and win Euro 2016, but through Gareth Bale's record 10 goals in the tournament instead of defensive prowess. After missing a penalty earlier in the match, Bale gets another chance at a spot kick and makes up for it by scoring the winning goal in the 85th minute of the final with an audacious Panenka.
December 2017 — Bale's friends all agree that he is incapable of hitting a hole in one during a round of golf. He ends up bagging three of them on the final three holes of the round for the supremely rare hole in one hat trick. The president of Augusta National Golf Club appears out of nowhere to give Bale a green jacket for his achievement even though he is not a member of the club nor is a winner of The Masters (yet).
July 2018 — Qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1958, Bale again carries Wales on a miraculous run to the final against host nation Russia, who have unbeatable mutant clones of Vladimir Putin playing all 11 positions. Bale scores the extra-time winner from inside his own half with a shot that sails of the head of goalkeeper Cyclops Putin.
May 2024 — Bale becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amidst vehement opposition given his complete lack of political experience. By the end of the year, he brings about world peace and ends poverty in all corners of the globe.
March 2025 — Given his success as Prime Minister, Bale is named Supreme Leader of a new unified global government. Members of the old establishment and anti-government protestors agree that Bale's new planetary regime will never work. It does.
November 2030 — Aliens make contact with Earth and offer the secret to immortality if we give them Bale. After the deal goes through, alien newspapers say Bale isn't worth such a valuable secret. He proves them wrong by solving all their problems in his first space year on their planet.
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