Gareth Bale scores twice, including stunning free-kick, in Wales’ World Cup play-off as anger for ‘parasite’ Real Madrid man in Spain grows March 24, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer
Gareth Bale is proving to be the difference in Wales’ World Cup play-off against Austria with his two quality strikes putting his nation in charge.
Wales drew first blood at the Cardiff City Stadium on 24 minutes when Bale’s brilliant dipping free-kick hit the net via the crossbar.
And early in the second half he doubled Wales’ lead with a sweet strike into the top corner in the box after collecting the ball off teammate Aaron Ramsey. A goal from Marcel Sabitzer halved Wales’ lead to set up a nervous finish.
It just had to be Bale though, given all the recent noise about his future at Real Madrid.
The 32-year-old is out-of-contract at the Bernabeu this summer and it’s very unlikely he’ll be offered a new deal.
He’s won a bucket load of trophies with Real Madrid, however, his spell at the club hasn’t gone to plan with the fans generally not taking to him during his eight-and-a-half year stay there.
There’s been no reference to Bale’s heroics on Real Madrid’s Twitter account, who have been praising Serbian striker, Luka Jovic, who scored in their clash against Hungary.
Bale is very much a fringe player in the squad, having made just five appearances all season – although injuries have set him back this term and in previous campaigns.
The former Tottenham man missed Real Madrid’s 4-0 humiliation at home to Barcelona, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti citing Bale ‘not feeling well’ as the reason for his absence.
There were fears he wouldn’t be available for the Wales match but Bale confirmed earlier in the week he would be playing.
It led to a furious backlash in Spain, with Spanish media launching a scathing attack on him – Marca referring to him as a ‘parasite.’
Bale insists the criticism is water off a duck’s back and showed he’s still got plenty to offer on the pitch.
The play-off has been played at a fast pace and seen plenty of chances with Ramsey later having an effort excellently saved onto the side-netting by Heinz Lindner.
Earlier in the match, Christoph Baumgartner’s strike deflect off the bar thanks to a heroic last-ditch challenge from Neco Williams.
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