Gareth Bale has taken the step forward that both he and his teammates needed him to make. In his sixth season at Real Madrid, he can finally remove the responsibilty of providing opportunities for Cristiano Ronaldo and lead the attack himself. Furthmore, he's found a partner in Karim Benzema. The Frenchman played for Cristiano too and the two never really got on. Now, he's become Bale's ally as the pair hope to benefit from the departure of their egotistical former teammate.
Bale hasn't waited long to convert himself into the focus of Real Madrid's attack in the absence of Cristiano. With his powerful left foot and aerial prowess he's got the same characteristics as the Portuguese star, but lacks the ability to hit the ball with his right as Cristiano did. Unlike the man who is now playing at Juventus, Bale is still able to get up and down the pitch and make a difference, rather than just wait for his teammates to cross the ball into the box for him.
key goalscorer in the last six games
Bale is Real Madrid's top scorer in the six matches he's played for them so far. In the four friendlies he scored three goals and in the first two official matches he's scored one. He scores a goal every 104 minutes. He's also provided three assists which shows the influence the Welshman has, being involved in seven of Madrid's last thirteen goals.
Against Getafe he was running the show in attack. He provided the cross which Dani Carvajal ended up converting and he scored the second. Bale also hit the bar with a fine diving header. He had three shots: scored one, hit the crossbar and another which went inches wide. The Welshman moved across the attack, dropping in on both flanks and playing down the middle at times, making him difficult to mark. In the end Lopetegui brought him off so the Bernabeu could applaud his performance. Bale has responded to the task at hand and the supporters appreciate that.