Gareth Bale scored on his debut for Real Madrid on Saturday evening, but it wasn’t enough to help Carlo Ancelotti’s side maintain their winning start to the season.
The long-running transfer saga came to an end towards the end of the transfer window, when the Wales international completed a world record £85million move from Tottenham Hotspur to the Bernabeu. He has since been in action for his country in World Cup qualifiers, so he had to wait until this weekend to finally realise his dream of running out in the famous white shirt.
Real had started the season with three successive wins, and although their opponents had done likewise, Ancelotti’s side were expected to record another maximum point haul at El Madrigal. It took Bale almost six minutes to get his first feel of the ball, when he laid the ball off to Luka Modric, a former team-mate at White Hart Lane. On 17 minutes Real were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, but the newcomer had to step aside as the real king of the Spanish capital, Cristiano Ronaldo, took charge only to fire his effort high and wide.
Four minutes later the home side were in front when Ruben Cani headed past Diego Lopez, and it looked as though the £85million man’s debut was in danger of ending in a night to forget. The man of the moment swapped flanks with Ronaldo midway through the first half, and this move paid off when he grabbed an equaliser on 39 minutes. Fullback Dani Carvajal raced down the right to fire a cross into the six-yard box, and Bale got in front of his marker to bundle the ball home.
Although this goal appeared to have settled him, the 24-year-old continued to struggle to have a real influence in the game, and as expected, he was withdrawn shortly after the hour mark. Within three minutes Ronaldo had given Real the lead when his shot bounced back off him and past goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo. But it was another former Tottenham forward who had the final say, when Giovanni dos Santos levelled the scoring with the final goal of the game on 70 minutes.
Despite two dropped points, Bale will be pleased that he has already registered for Real following his world record transfer. The main focus for him now is to build up his fitness levels, but finding the net will undoubtedly help ease some of the pressure off him ahead of his first game in front of the Bernabeu, which comes next Sunday evening against Getafe. This comes after a midweek trip to Turkey to take on Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League.