Gareth Bale stepped into Cristiano Ronaldo’s shoes Wednesday and became a Real Madrid hero.
Bale scored a stunning solo goal, which won the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) final for Madrid against eternal rival Barcelona. In the 85th minute, Bale outraced Barcelona defender Mark Bartra over nearly 60 yards before poking his shot past goalkeeper Jose Pinto.
The goal was Bale’s first in the Copa del Rey this season, but he has scored 20 more in all competitions. It’s a healthy return for the Welshman, who joined Real Madrid in September in a blockbuster transfer worth €91 million ($123 million, £78 million).
After a slow start to his Spanish soccer career, Bale has adapted to his new surroundings and is growing increasingly important to Real Madrid’s pursuit of glory.
Injury prevented Ronaldo from playing Wednesday, but Bale admirably filled that void. The 24-year-old threatened Barcelona’s defense with his speed and shooting throughout the game. Then he stepped up and scored this goal.
GIF via Reddit