Bale is back

Gareth Bale was in indomitable form when he suffered a soleus muscle injury back in January. An argument could be made that he was playing his best ever football in a Real Madrid shirt up until that moment. He returned to the starting line-up in the Champions League yesterday and was top class. He spent the first half on the left wing, where he is an incision specialist. I understand the difficulties involved with playing him in his natural position, given that it coincides with where Cristiano, the star of the show, likes to roam. But there’s no doubt that the Welshman is at his best and brightest on the left flank. His tremendous prowess and speed allow him to leave defenders for dead, hit the by-line and deliver balls into the danger zone that often result in goals.

When his start-off point is on the right he struggles to get into deep positions, and instead tends to cut in on his stronger foot in search of a sight on goal or to link up with a team-mate. He doesn’t hit the same heights on the right as he does on the left, where, in my eyes, he’s an unstoppable force. Combining so many quality pieces together can be a headache. A beautiful headache.