Gareth Bale rescued Real Madrid on Sunday with two goals in a 2-2 draw against Villareal, then earned a red card in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
There’s no more fitting conclusion to an up-and-down start to the La Liga campaign for both Bale and the Spanish giants. After manager Zinedine Zidane publicly encouraged Bale to leave Real Madrid this summer, the winger has started all three matches thus far.
Bale was influential in a season-opening win vs. Celta Vigo (during which Luka Modric got red-carded), while Real Madrid conceded in the 88th minute last weekend to draw Real Valladolid in its home opener.
This time, Real Madrid did the rallying twice over. Gerard Moreno scored Villareal’s first goal in the 12th minute, but Real Madrid answered thanks to a clever flick from Luka Jovic just before halftime, which released a few feet of space for Dani Carvajal to find Bale for a tap-in (via beIN Sports):
Moi Gomez thrust the hosts back in front in the 74th minute, but a bad giveaway to Modric sent Real Madrid the other way in the 86th minute.
Bale eventually cut inside Villareal defender Xavier Quintilla on his left foot and beat goalkeeper Andres Fernandez near-post:
Bale ran through Quintilla with a hard challenge in stoppage time, leading to his second yellow card and a sending off.
But the statement had been made, assuming anyone at Real Madrid does anything with any calculation anymore. Bale is a world-class winger, even if Real Madrid could afford to live without him. Megabucks summer signing Eden Hazard should finally make his competitive Real Madrid debut following the international break, after all.
Until he does, Bale will probably keep getting playing time. Bale will probably keep getting time regardless, because he’s too valuable to leave on the bench. Surely Zidane can see that?
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