I don't know if this has happened to you, too. Watching Gareth Bale receive, control and set off towards goal, I sometimes find that the ball looks positively tiny at his feet; that the Real Madrid man towers over it. It's almost like a scene from a Marvel comic: next to the hulking physique of the superhero, that size 5 we've just seen hurtling through the air suddenly seems more like a golf ball.
Which leads us to something that's often overlooked when people talk about what Bale brings to the party: his technique is so silky smooth that he brings the football under his spell (before combining with a team-mate or taking aim at goal) instantly and effortlessly. You get the impression that the game comes easy to the 28-year-old; that said dinky ball is his faithful, obedient servant.
Bale right where he wants to be
And that's why nobody's in any doubt that we haven't yet seen the best of Bale; that there's so much more to come from the Welshman. Which, in turn, is why every time he's linked with a return to Tottenham Hotspur or a move to Manchester United these days, both Real Madrid and the player himself shrug their shoulders in resignation. Why? He's right where he wants to be to take it to the next level.