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Gareth Bale will be back at his blistering best in no time

Gareth Bale will be back at his blistering best in no time

Legendary Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp used to say that Gareth Bale could quite easily play two matches one straight after the other if he felt like it. During his time at Spurs, Bale would have energy to spare on the final whistle - so much so that it became a running joke between player and coach. After this week's Dortmund game, in which he was taken off early because “his calf muscles were beginning to ache” (according to Zidane...), Bale was asked if he would hypothetically be up for another 90 minutes. “Nooooo”, he replied with a broad smile. But that is what he is aiming to do - to have the feeling that physically, a full 90 minute game seems too short. A couple of English players who have faced lengthy spells of four months or more on the sidelines themselves have given Gareth some personal advice which has consoled him: they tell him that he will need a good year to return to being the player he was before. In effect, that means that by November, Bale should be back in peak form. But for now he is just complying by doing all of the training work Madrid's coaching staff ask him to do.

Bale in full flight against Dortmund

The unseen work Bale does off the ball

Against Dortmund he started his runs from a central position or from the left, looking to get in behind defenders - like he did when Carvajal picked him out for the opener. He also played a hand in both of Cristiano's goals. But where he really excelled was with his movements off the ball. It's no longer the trend to have a go at Bale for his defensive work because now he never stops dropping back to help the full-back he shares a wing with and press opponents when Madrid decide to build from the back. The new Bale who tirelessly works for the team is still a little hit and miss - but the one we will see in the coming weeks will be the scintillating player who wowed us before his injury. Back then he was the best player in the team. Although few remember it...

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