||The Welshman completed a staggering £85.3m
move from Tottenham on 1st September, 2013
|Debut||Bale made his debut against Villareal in a 2-2 draw where he scored the equaliser.|
|Appearances and Goals
||Bale has so far gone onto make 4 appearances this season playing a total of 169 minutes and scoring once|
|Injury||Had foot problems during his time at Spurs. Injured against Getafe.|
|High point||Scoring on his debut and winning a vital penalty against Malaga|
|Low point||Injury after scoring a goal and Di Maria's impressive form has seen him on the bench.|
For once the focus will not entirely be on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Instead two new stars get set to lock horns in what turns out to be their first test in their new surroundings – Neymar Junior and Gareth Bale.
Neymar was one of the most sought after players in the transfer market for the last couple of seasons and it didn't take long for Barcelona to shell out a massive €57m for the former Santos star. Incredibly despite that large sum, he ranks ninth in Barcelona's record transfer buys.
The Sao Paulo born forward has scored more than 100 professional goals already and is only just settling into the European football in his formative years.
On the other hand, Gareth Bale started as a left back and was converted into a left winger after his move to Tottenham from Southampton. Under the tutelage of Harry Redknapp, Bale cemented his place in the side with his blistering pace and dribbling skills leaving everyone in awe of his talent following a hat-trick against Inter Milan at the San Siro where he left Maicon for dead.
Barcelona and Real Madrid spent heavily on the two stars respectively and it would be fair to state that the duo have yet to deliver on the big stage with a top display.
Following his stunning performance at the Confederations Cup, Neymar was expected to take La Liga by storm – something which didn’t really materialize. He did score the crucial away goal for his side in the 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup which helped the Blaugrana lift their first trophy of the season.
He has often been criticized by opposition for making the most of tackles. However the Barcelona camp believes that the referee needs to protect him as he is already the most fouled player in the league since his arrival.
Bale hasn’t had a pre-season and hence has been struggling with injuries ever since. He scored on debut against Villarreal but since then, there have been speculations on his injury being far worse than what it is being made out; so much so that the club had to issue a press release denying all such talks.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti has stated that the Welshman is ready to start but there are doubts whether he will be handed a start. Angel Di Maria is in the form of his life and it looks unlikely that Bale would replace him in the eleven. Cristiano Ronaldo will not be leading the line as the striker given that Ancelotti has mentioned of not attempting to maneuver the position of his best player.
Neymar will be up against Alvaro Arbeloa whom he had tormented in the Confederations Cup final. While Bale, should he start on the right, will be up against Jordi Alba – a left back known for his marauding runs forward. This means that the two will be operating on the same flank.
The duo have had a very varied start to life in Spain and although expecting too much from them this early on in the season looks unfair but that's what big money moves lead to. The stage is set for them to make a mark and add their names to the clubs’ folklore.
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