Bolt of Bale magic
Wonder-goal caps 'dream' victory over Barcelona
REAL MADRID 2
(Angel di Maria 10, Gareth Bale 85)
(Marc Bartra 68)
Pace, power and precision. Gareth Bale has it all as he justified his "world's most expensive player" tag with aplomb against Real Madrid's arch rivals Barcelona yesterday morning (Singapore time).
It was a "dream come true" for Bale after his moment of magic won the Copa del Rey for Real, their 19th triumph in the competition,
The Wales international - in his debut season for the club after his world record move from Tottenham - scored the winner with five minutes left as Barcelona were beaten 2-1 in Valencia.
Bale has been an impressive performer for Real this season but had drawn some criticism for failing to score in their league games against old rivals Barca.
He put that right in some style.
He took the ball in his own half close to the touchline, pushed it ahead of Marc Bartra and sprinted after it.
BURST OF SPEED
Bartra's position meant Bale had to leave the field by some distance before returning ahead of the defender, collecting the ball, bringing it inside on his right foot and then slotting underneath Pinto with his left.
"It's a dream come true, not just because I scored but because of the work of the whole team," Bale told Real's official website.
"It was really special. We've won the first of the three available titles and we have to keep fighting for everything. But now we have to be thinking about the next game and nothing else.
"This win is for all the fans and we hope that it will be the first of many to come. Thank you all for your support during the season. We have worked hard as a team."
Bale drew Madrid's attention while at Tottenham after producing stunning goal after stunning goal.
He has scored some memorable ones during his first season in Spain too, but none more so than the one to win his first senior trophy.
"I had to sprint, Bartra pushed me and tried to block my path but wasn't able to," he recalled.
"I had to go around him. It was great to score the goal but even better to win the match and pick up a title for Real Madrid.
"The atmosphere was fantastic. It has been a perfect night. I'm delighted to have won my first title with Madrid. I think we could go on to win even more this season."
Bale was joined in the on-field celebrations by Cristiano Ronaldo, ruled out of the clash through injury.
It was initially suggested that coach Carlo Ancelotti would struggle to marry the Ballon d'Or winner and Bale together, but that has not been an issue, and a suited Ronaldo grabbed Bale in among Real's hysteria.
"We have to enjoy this," Bale said.
"The team were great, they knew how to dig in and deserved to win because they created more chances. I'm very happy. It is the first trophy of the season but we will keep on fighting for the other two.
"The manager also deserves congratulations because he picked a good team. We have to enjoy today. It was a massive effort to get to the final and beating Barcelona makes it even more special."
Hamstring-injury victim Ronaldo is now focusing on being fit for Real's Champions League semi-final with Bayern Munich next week.
He said: "I'm really happy. I wanted to play and help the team but my teammates did a great job. I'm getting better, now I don't feel any pain.
"I might be back in time for next Wednesday or perhaps the second leg of our Champions League tie.
"Bit by bit I'm feeling better and what I want more than anything is to be able to help the team out as soon as possible". - PA Sport.
It was his most important goal, it was the most defining moment of the game.
— Real coach Carlo Ancelotti on Gareth Bale
The goal was incredible, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it.
— Real midfielder Xabi Alonso I think it just shows what an incredible athlete he is.
To be 84 minutes in and to produce that kind of run was quite incredible.
— Real assistant coach Paul Clement on Bale