Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane claimed a transfer away for Gareth Bale would “be best for everyone” but the numbers tell a potentially-different story.
Despite a seemingly irreparable relationship between player and coach, Bale has been one of Madrid’s best players since he moved from Tottenham in 2013.
Based on Bale’s statistics of minutes-per-goal and trophies, he should be considered a club legend at Real Madrid — worthy of remaining at the club and probably more respect than he’s being shown.
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The Welshman’s minutes-per-goal record is 163 — he’s scored 102 goals in 231 games. The strike rate is better than that of legendary striker Raul, who scored a goal every 184 minutes.
Bale also was a significant factor in Madrid ending their wait for the coveted La Decima. Before his arrival, Madrid had not won the Champions League in 2002. The same season that Bale signed, they went on to win the Champions League and have since won it on three separate occasions (2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18).
Crunching those trophies into numbers, Bale has been involved in 30 per cent of Real Madrid’s Champions League triumphs.
In comparison, Bale has seen more Champions League success than Raul (won three times), Luis Figo and even Zidane (both once). Brazilian Ronaldo — who has only two more goals for Real than Bale — failed to even win one Champions League with Los Blancos.
Zidane would certainly be considered a club legend at Real Madrid. Sure, his managerial career with them has served to further cement that status, but as a player, Bale has every right — if not more — to be considered on the same level as the Frenchman.
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Bale has played four more games for Madrid than Zidane has, but what is most staggering is that Zidane only found the back of the net 49 times in 227 games while Bale has scored 102 goals in 231 games.
Bale’s standout moments as a Madrid player should also be considered not just amazing for the club, but also in footballing history.
The 2014 Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona saw Bale nick the ball past Barca defender Marc Bartra, dash past him by running off the edge of the pitch and bury it past Jose Manuel Pinto.
His bicycle kick against Liverpool in the 2017/18 Champions League final might be one of the greatest goals in footballing history. At face value, it’s a wonder goal. Throw in a stage like the Champions League final to score a goal like that and it only cements its legacy as arguably the greatest Champions League goal ever.
Madrid fans seem very quick to forget that the man they are hounding out of Madrid scored that goal for them.
Bale deserves our respect. His goalscoring feats and trophy haul for Real Madrid demand our respect.
Whatever happens in his transfer saga, Madrid fans should remember all of the incredible things he did for the club and that he should be always known as a club legend.