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Gareth Bale’s ups and downs as his turbulent Real Madrid career rumbles on

UK & international sports | Published:

The Wales international has lifted the Champions League trophy four times with Real.

Gareth Bale has become a peripheral figure at Real Madrid

Gareth Bale has fallen out of favour at Real Madrid and will not be involved in Friday’s Champions League clash with Manchester City.

The Wales international, who has lifted the Champions League trophy four times and won two LaLiga titles during a remarkable seven seasons in Spain, chose not to be involved according to manager Zinedine Zidane.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the highs and lows of Bale’s career.

Gareth Bale made his Wales debut at the age of just 16 days and 315 days
Gareth Bale made his Wales debut at the age of just 16 days and 315 days (Nick Potts/PA)

High – Aged 16 years and 315 days, Bale became the youngest player to represent Wales, setting up Rob Earnshaw’s winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago on his international debut in 2006.

Low – After being named Football League Young Player of the Year, playing left-back in his breakthrough season, he sustained injury on his final Southampton appearance as the club suffered defeat to Derby in the Championship play-offs.

Low – Bale moved to Tottenham for a fee potentially rising to £10million in 2007 but the club failed to register a win during his first 24 Premier League appearances.

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High – After going more than two and a half years without scoring, a spell which included the first red card of his career, Bale struck winning goals in successive matches as Spurs beat London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea in April 2010.

High – A sensational Champions League hat-trick in a 4-3 loss to Inter Milan at San Siro in October 2010 confirmed Bale’s status as one of Europe’s top stars.

High – He hit 21 Premier League goals during the 2012-13 season – a tally bettered only by Robin Van Persie and Luis Suarez – earning a world-record £85million move to Madrid.

High – During a memorable first year in Spain, Bale notched his first El Clasico goal against Barcelona to secure Copa del Rey glory before becoming the first Welshman to score in a Champions League final by heading home in the 4-1 extra-time success over Atletico Madrid.

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High – In 2016 he lifted the Champions League trophy for a second time after scoring in a penalty shootout as Real once again defeated city rivals Atletico in the final.

High – Bale scored three times at Euro 2016 as Wales enjoyed a superb run to the semi-finals of the competition in France, upsetting Belgium along the way.

Low – In November 2016 Bale was ruled out for around four months after damaging ankle tendons in a Champions League clash with Sporting Lisbon.

High – Bale returned from injury to help Real become LaLiga champions for the first time in five years.

Gareth Bale celebrates after helping Wales defeat much-fancied Belgium in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016
Gareth Bale celebrates after helping Wales defeat much-fancied Belgium in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 (Joe Giddens/PA)

Low – Despite capping the 2016-17 season with a third Champions League title – in his hometown of Cardiff – the success was bittersweet on a personal level as Bale was only a late substitute in the final against Juventus.

High – Bale surpassed Ian Rush as Wales’ record goalscorer following a hat-trick against China in March 2018. He currently has 33 goals for his country.

High – Bale was once again substitute for a Champions League final but this time came off the bench to score a brace – including a stunning bicycle kick – to earn a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in Kiev.

Low – Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus, Bale enjoyed a prolific 2018-19 season but Real disappointingly finished third in LaLiga for the second year in a row, 17 points adrift of champions Barcelona.

Low – In the summer of 2019, Real boss Zinedine Zidane announced he was willing to let Bale leave the Bernabeu but insisted it was “nothing personal”.

Low – Bale won a second Spanish league title this term but played a peripheral role. The 31-year-old’s only LaLiga goals came in a 2-2 draw with Villarreal in which he was also sent off. The Welshman angered supporters by pretending to fall asleep while sat on the bench during Real’s clash with Alaves. He was left out for the trip to the Etihad Stadium by Zidane, with the manager claiming Bale chose not to be part of the squad.

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