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.
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.
Realistic transfer options: Nathan Ake, Tyrone Mings, Jamaal Lascelles
Liverpool look unstoppable at the moment, but if there’s one glaring problem then it’s at centre back – and that ‘problem’ is definitely not Virgil van Dijk. Granted, the Premier League leaders have conceded the second least amount of goals this season, but Ballon d’Or candidate van Dijk is still missing a world class defensive partner to complete Jurgen Klopp’s star-studded back four. Joel Matip is out injured and we’re all well aware of Dejan Lovren’s shaky nature – so it wouldn’t hurt Liverpool to recruit a solid centre-half come January.
What they need: Backup striker for Vardy
Realistic transfer options: Ashley Barnes, Lys Mousset, Danny Ings
Signing players in January is always a tough job, especially when you’ve got a squad like Leicester City’s, who are such a tight-knit group that bringing in new players threatens upsetting the apple cart. Leicester’s team, player for player, is superior to that which won the Premier League in 2016 but even that squad brought in some January reinforcements. Bringing in someone like a Danny Ings to give Jamie Vardy the opportunity to rest or be brought off early would benefit the squad during the title run in. Let’s not forget, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ayoze Perez are always on hand to help out too.
What they need: Centre back to replace Fernandinho
Realistic transfer options: Kalidou Koulibaly
We don’t know about you, but we’re still far from convinced by Jon Stones or Nicholas Otamendi – and we’re not the only ones. Pep Guardiola has resorted to playing Fernandinho at centre back in recent weeks and things haven’t exactly improved at the back. Big-spenders City need to get their hands in their pockets if they stand any chance of finally filling the void left by club legend Vincent Kompany. They’ll need to act fast, though, because one of the world’s best defenders in Kalidou Koulibaly looks like he’s heading to the red side of Manchester.
What they need: Central defender, left-back, winger
Realistic transfer options: Kalidou Koulibaly, Nathan Ake, Ben Chilwell, Jadon Sancho
Roman Abramovich will be like a kid in a sweet store with a bulging wallet because the shop has been closed for 12 months, even if Frank Lampard is urging caution. A central defender and a left-back are two areas which definitely need to be strengthened, albeit it whether they will be able to get both done in January is another matter. With Napoli’s troubles, Kalidou Koulibaly would be a terrific signing to give experience to the youth players around him like Fikayo Tomori. Ben Chilwell is likely to be an end-of-season target but Jadon Sancho could jump ship early, even if his position is the lowest priority of the three.
What they need: Central midfielder and a striker to work with Rashford
Realistic transfer options: Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish, Declan Rice, John McGinn, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho
The Red Devils are professionals at upsetting the apple cart and beating the bigger teams. But it’s the smaller sides they’re really struggling with this season. It remains to be seen whether Marcus Rashford is an out-and-out striker so recruiting another No.9 would certainly take some pressure off the Englishman’s shoulders to produce goals. That being said, the first signing most Manchester United fans would probably want to see is another midfielder. Scott McTominay has quickly become one of the first names on Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s team sheet but with Paul Pogba injured and Fred
What they need: Defender, midfielder
Realistic transfer options: Cedric Soares, Robin Koch, Franck Kessie
With Wolves set to be juggling the Premier League and the Europa League into next year now, they need to add more personnel, particularly in the defensive positions with Leandro Dendoncker having played there in recent weeks. Cedric Soares is one option from Southampton, while Germany international Robin Koch is another on Wolves’ radar. Rumours surrounding AC Milan’s Franck Kessie refuse to go away as well, should Nuno Espirito Santo want to add to his midfield too.
What they need: Attacking midfielder to replace Christian Eriksen
Realistic transfer options: Memphis Depay, Donny van de Beek, Marouane Fellaini
There’s now life at Spurs. With Jose Mourinho at the helm, Tottenham are on the rise and they’re bid for Champions League football next season has been drastically boosted. But even with Mauricio Pochettino gone, the contract stand-off with several players still remains – midfield maestro Christian Eriksen being one of them. The Dane looks set to leave in the new year so Spurs must find a like-for-like replacement if they want to maintain their momentum. Memphis Depay and Donny van de Beek’s names have been thrown into the mixer, although Mourinho’s Manchester United golden child Marouane Fellaini could work as a box-to-box option.
What they need: Proven Premier League goal scorer
Realistic transfer options: Charlie Austin, Aleksandar Mitrovic
One of the surprises of the season so far has been Sheffield United’s adaptation to the Premier League, registering some stunning results to see them in eighth place in the Premier League. However, only Wolves have seen more games finish in a draw so far this season than Sheffield United and a proven Premier League goalscorer could be just what Chris Wilder’s men need for the second half of the season. Someone like Charlie Austin or Aleksandar Mitrovic – who is pulling up trees in the Championship again – would be perfect, even if it’s just coming off the bench for the final 20 minutes.
What they need: To cut the dead weight and hire a manager with professional experience
Realistic transfer options: Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Nathan Ake
If we’re being honest, Arsenal could do with a complete squad overhaul – and that means everyone (except for probably Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang). The defence looks dodgy, the midfield is non-existent and there’s no flare going forward. Add in fresh injuries to Granit Xhaka, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney and things aren’t boding well for the future. If you’re going to rebuild this team, the spine must be fixed and that means cutting the dead weight in David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos in defence and getting rid of Xhaka and Lucas Torreira in midfield. Consistency is what the Gunners need in the second half of the season – and this set of players have been anything but. Having a permanent manager in place with Premier League experience might help too.
What they need: Striker
Realistic transfer options: Charlie Austin, Aleksandar Mitrovic
Wilfried Zaha is carrying a lot of Crystal Palace’s attacking impetus this season but has not been supported by the strikers so far. The fact that Christian Benteke is pushing for a start shows how tough Jordan Ayew is finding it up front. Palace’s season has been better than most would have predicted so far but the addition of a goalscoring striker could make it even better. Like Sheffield United, we have marked Charlie Austin, but Aleksandar Mitrovic would probably be more suited to the way Roy Hodgson sets up his teams.
What they need: A striker from the heavens… Joelinton is hopeless!
Realistic transfer options: Andre Gray, Che Adams, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ollie Watkins, Dwight Gayle
Despite beating Premier League high-flyers Sheffield United over the weekend, the Magpies have struggled to string together results this campaign. Wins over Tottenham and Manchester United proves Steve Bruce’s men can match it with the best but they’re still missing a key ingredient which can guarantee a team wins – and that’s a proven striker. A Newcastle ‘forward’ hasn’t scored in the Premier League since August which perhaps proves why they’re goals tally is so low. Off-season signing Joelinton has failed to impress the Geordie faithful since his $71million arrival, so Bruce will need some serious Mike Ashley funding if the team stands any chance of fixing their problems up front. If funds are limited, though, looking at options down in the Championship might not hurt.
What they need: Tie down Aaron Mooy, striker
Realistic transfer options: Andre Gray, Che Adams, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ollie Watkins, Dwight Gayle
Aaron Mooy had a slow start to life on the south coast with Brighton but in recent weeks he has shown why he is such a key player for the Socceroos. His performance against Arsenal was his best since his loan move from Huddersfield and he has come into his own since move to an inside left position. With Glenn Murray’s birth certificate picking up more dust, the Seagulls need to find an out-and-out No.9 if they want to score more goals. Granted, Neal Maupay and Pascal Gross are doing well for the time being – but they’re not a natural strikers. Even if it means looking in the lower leagues, recruiting a front man could be what saves Brighton’s season.
What they need: A creative midfielder
Realistic transfer options: Todd Cantwell, James Ward-Prowse, Conor Hourihane
Where on earth is Danny Drinkwater? Clarets fans were eager to see the Leicester City hero in action at Turf Moor but an unfortunate string of injuries has stopped his revival in its tracks. That being said, Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes can’t seem to stop scoring which has perhaps masked an underlying, deep-seated issue within the Burnley ranks – a problem that could very easily see them slide down the table if they’re not careful. This team lacks creativity. Scrappy goals won’t help a club avoid relegation (just ask Huddersfield, Cardiff and Fulham from last season). Jeff Hendrick and Jack Cork are decent but what Sean Dyche really needs is a slick, attack-minded midfielder to put the ball on a silver platter for Wood and Barnes.
What they need: Holding midfielder
Realistic transfer options: Granit Xhaka
Everton’s efforts are all going into the search for a new manager at the moment but the first thing the new man will want to do is address a replacement for the injured Andre Gomes. The Portuguese’s absence has been felt in the Everton midfield since his horror injury and they could do worse than to turn to Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka. Xhaka wants to leave the Gunners and a loan deal until the end of the season will suit both parties. It will give Everton an opportunity to see if they can turn his career around without being tied down for the long term.
What they need: Reinforcements as they enter an injury crisis
Realistic transfer options: Any player in search of regular first-team football
Disaster hit the south coast club last weekend when Nathan Ake went down holding his hamstring. The Dutchman joins Asmir Begovic, Steve Cook, Adam Smith, Charlie Daniels, David Brooks, Junior Stanislas and Josh King on the Cherries’ treatment table. Eddie Howe is in desperate need of reinforcements because this team is looking very light in numbers.
What they need: Goalkeeper, midfielder
Realistic transfer options: Franck Kessie, Granit Xhaka
Manuel Pellegrini is not traditionally a big fan of new signings in January but if he is to hold onto his job then he will have to become one quickly. Lukasz Fabianski is expected to return in time for January, but if he doesn’t then a goalkeeper must be top of the agenda. Elsewhere, a midfielder to alleviate the pressure on Declan Rice is key. Franck Kessie from AC Milan and Granit Xhaka are two very good options, even if the signing of Xhaka would qualify the Hammers as a disposal unit for unwanted Arsenal midfielders.
What they need: To hold onto Jack Grealish
Realistic transfer options: Is the Villa skipper even replaceable?
That’s right. Unless they can replace fan favourite Jack Grealish with a truly world class attacking option, Villa fans would undoubtedly rather hold onto the 24-year-old ace. It goes without saying, academy graduate Grealish has been influential this season which is why the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham are hot on his tail. If Premier League newcomers Villa can resist the extortionate offers set to come their way for Grealish’s services, they’ll have a truly special talent at their disposal for at least another season.
What they need: Defender, holding midfielder
Realistic transfer options: Marcos Rojo, Aaron Long
The Saints have the worst defensive record in the Premier League, predominantly thanks to that nine-goal humbling at the hands of Leicester City earlier in the season, so it’s no surprise that a defender will be high up on the transfer wish list. American centre-back Aaron Long was reportedly offered to Southampton and depending what is going on with Manchester United, Marcos Rojo or Axel Tuanzebe could be available on a short-term loan.
What they need: Experienced Premier League defenders
Realistic transfer options: Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Ciaran Clark, Craig Cathcart
This defence looks way out of their depth. Norwich have proven they have the attacking options to match other teams but sometimes the ability to keep a clean sheet can win you games too. The Canaries’ leaky back line has fans in East Anglia pulling their hair out and a not-so-fresh face with a wealth of Premier League experience could be answer to their defensive woes. He looks destined to join Arsenal (another team with a poor defensive record), but if Norwich can somehow hijack the move for Chris Smalling then he’s the sort of player the young Norwich defenders can learn from.
What they need: A miracle (or good championship players)
Realistic transfer options: Tom Cairney, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ollie Watkins
With Nigel Pearson now in the much-passed-around Watford hot seat, the players will be getting a much-needed kick up the backside. But he is also a manager who has experience of getting a club promoted from the Championship, so Watford’s recruitment must now be geared towards bouncing back as soon as possible, given their current plight. Tom Cairney is a very good Championship player who didn’t quite cut it in the Premier League, while his teammate Aleksandar Mitrovic would provide not only a chance of staying up this season, but a huge advantage when it comes to next year.