Gareth Bale showed just why Real Madrid paid a world record transfer fee to secure his services by scoring an incredible goal to hand Los Merengues the Copa del Rey after a 2-1 win at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium.
With the scores tied with five minutes remaining, Bale picked up the ball on the halfway line and immediately knocked it ahead of Marc Bartra. The Barcelona defender thought a nudge would prevent Bale from getting to the ball first, but instead the Welsh winger unleashed the afterburners and sprinted around Bartra from off the pitch. Having got to the ball first he then showed superb composure to cut inside the box before prodding the ball through the legs of Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto.
Neymar hit the post late on but Barcelona could not respond to Bale’s brilliance and deny Madrid the trophy. For Bale, it was even more pivotal that he rose to the occasion given that Madrid’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo was watching from the stands due to injury. Madrid wanted a player who could provide another game-winning option alongside Ronaldo and Bale proved that he is just that in spectacular fashion.
Having lost last year’s final to Atletico Madrid, Madrid have now secured their first silverware in two years and the first under coach Carlo Ancelotti. They will now hope for more Bale magic as well as for the return of Ronaldo when they take on Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal next week.