[QODLink]
Football

Bale getting closer to being real deal

Welshman happy to complete 90 minutes for Real Madrid after scoring two goals and setting up two more against Sevilla.

Last Modified: 31 Oct 2013 11:44
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Bale says he is finding his rhythm after having an injury-disrupted summer [AP]

Gareth Bale gave Real Madrid fans their first real taste of what he is capable of with two goals and two assists against Sevilla on Wednesday and the world's most expensive player believes he has turned a corner.

The $138 million Welsh winger's season has been disrupted by injury but his performance in the 7-3 romp at the Bernabeu showcased his strength and pace as well as his lethal left foot, and suggested he is close to full fitness again after recovering from a thigh strain.

Playing on the right of a three-man frontline with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, Bale opening the scoring with a fierce strike into the top corner, added a second with a deflected free kick and then set up his fellow forwards after powerful runs in from the flank.

"It was important for my form," Bale told reporters after coming through the full 90 minutes of a match for the first time since joining from Tottenham Hotspur.

"After not having a normal pre-season I have to keep building rhythm so I can give my best," the 24-year-old added.

"Obviously I need time to improve physically but I am very happy to have played 90 minutes."

Bale should get another chance to impress when Real play at struggling city neighbours Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

Carlo Ancelotti's side are third in La Liga after 11 games after an unconvincing start, two points behind Atletico Madrid, who play their game in hand at Granada later on Thursday before hosting Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Barca out in front

Unbeaten champions Barcelona, who edged Real 2-1 in last weekend's 'Clasico' at the Nou Camp, are four clear of Atletico at the top and will stretch their advantage to seven with a win at home to Espanyol on Friday.

Ancelotti has yet to get the best from his expensively-assembled squad and the Italian, who replaced Jose Mourinho in the close season, said that while he was happy with his forwards the rest of the outfield players had room for improvement.

"We were pressing through the middle but left our wings exposed and the fullbacks had a few problems," Ancelotti told a news conference.

"We have to find a balance among the other seven players and not just the three up front," he added.

One player who can help Real exert more control is experienced Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso, who came on as a second-half substitute against Sevilla after five months out injured and was given a huge ovation by the home fans.

"He is a great player," Bale said.

"He has been very consistent and reliable in recent seasons and it's fantastic to have him back.

"His experience will help us on the pitch because he is capable of controlling the game very well."

Barca's Brazil forward Neymar is likely to return to the starting lineup against Espanyol after sitting out Tuesday's 3-0 win at Celta Vigo as part of coach Gerardo Martino's policy of alternately resting key players.

Their World Player of the Year Lionel Messi is due a goal after failing to score for three consecutive games for the first time in more than two years against Celta.

546

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.