Gareth Bale won The Champions League in his first season at Real Madrid. He even scored the goal which effectively broke the resistance of the valiant Atletico Madrid.
But, despite this remarkable achievement, there is a definite sense that Bale is underachieving at Real Madrid.
Few players will ever compare favourably to Cristiano Ronaldo. But the fact that Bale cost more than Ronaldo, when he sealed an £86m transfer last summer, means that there are regular comparisons and all the pressure that comes with them.
Manchester United tried to hijack Bale’s move last summer and there have been rumours ever since about them moving again for the lad.
With Isco playing out of his skin Bale will have to say on his toes just to stay in the side right now. Of course, at 25, he still has room for improvement. But it’s surely a matter of when not if the player returns to England. His raw pace and running power may be more suited to The Premier League. Widespread reports today suggest that Manchester United will be at the head of the queue if he does become available.
The one question we would ask about this potential move is whether Manchester United would pay so much for yet another left-footed player. They already seem on the verge of imbalance with so many recent left footed acquisitions – Rojo, Blind, Di Maria and Shaw – and Bale may be expected to play on the right if Di Maria remains left. But it would be a lovely problem to have and Di Maria is potentially even more effective through the middle.