Since moving to Real Madrid C.F. from Tottenham Hotspur FC, Gareth Bale has been a man with a heavy weight on his shoulders.
That weight would be the $140 million it cost for Madrid to buy the Welsh winger. It is a sum of money blamed for the departure of fan favorites like Gonzalo Higuaín and Jose Callejón to S.S.C. Napoli in Italy and Mesut Özil to Arsenal FC in England.
After all, the money needed for this record signing had to come from somewhere.
It certainly didn’t help Bale that the British media was eager to pile on all the praise in the world before he set one foot on a Spanish pitch.
Madridistas, the fans of Real Madrid, were more than a bit skeptical of Bale and the bloated price tag.
Despite claims that he wasn’t feeling the pressure, Bale had to know a lot of hard work was going to be needed this season to justify all the money spent on him.
Bale has scored his share of goals since donning the famous white jersey. Some of them very good goals.
But it wasn’t until he was forced to fill in for club talisman Cristiano Ronaldo that Bale was finally able to lift that huge weight from his 24-year-old shoulders.
Following the 84th minute goal that sunk rival club FC Barcelona and won the Copa del Rey trophy for his team, Bale is no longer a pretender and an outsider: He is now a hero.
The British magazines who labeled him as such from the outset cannot stop crowing about Bale’s late stunner in a sort of “I told you so” manner.
After all, Bale had the habit of rescuing his former Spurs team from the jaws of defeat with last minute goals. One can’t help but note that the faltering Spurs team isn't quite the same without the Welshman.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) April 17, 2014
As for Real Madrid, this silverware might not be the last they win this year. The team made it to the semifinals of the Champions League. If they defeat just two more teams, they can win it all.
Real Madrid are also closely trailing local rival Atlético Madrid in La Liga. A slip up could see the Whites as league champions.
There is already media speculation as whether or not Bale could gift his Madrid tean a possible cup treble.
For now, Bale’s simply enjoying his time as the man of the hour.
Image via Gareth Bale, Instagram