Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Real Madrid last summer was supposed to herald the reign of a new king in the Santiago Bernabeu. Isco, Ascensio and Bale were all tipped to match up to the standards of the Portuguese star, Former coach Lopetegui declared it was time for Bale to shine.
Gareth Bale joined a prestigious group after scoring a brilliant hat-trick for Real Madrid at the Club World Cup on Wednesday. The Wales international squeezed Madrid’s opening goal past Kashima Antlers goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae shortly before half-time and pounced on a defensive mix-up after the break to score again, with his third goal soon after putting the result beyond doubt in the second semi-final.
The 3-1 victory sets up a final clash with local heroes Al-Ain, who shocked River Plate on penalties to make Saturday’s showpiece.
Bale has now scored in three different editions of the competition, having also found the net in 2014 and 2017, a feat only previously achieved by two other players. Of course, those two just happen to be former Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo netted for Manchester United in 2008, then again for Madrid in 2016 and 2017. Messi, meanwhile, was on target for Barcelona in 2009, 2011 and 2015.