A tacky club like Real Madrid had to organize a somewhat embarrassing beginning to the co-existence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, but it doesn’t mean anything about their future partnership. Being the most expensive two players in the world comes with huge anticipation, but not a lot of patience from the outside world.
Ronaldo has already been part of a most-expensive duo when Kaka arrived at the club. Real Madrid also had Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane signed to the club two years in a row, shattering world records. This kind of attention isn’t new. It’s what Florentino Perez has always craved for, and seems to be working to achieve that goal. Establishing Madrid as the number one destination for stars. Titles? That’s a different story.
While Bale and Ronaldo might dictate style and headlines, they won’t be measured by that. Real Madrid need to keep on winning, only play better. Fans have a bitter taste in their mouths from Mesut Ozil leaving the club and Perez trying to trash the German player, probably Real’s second best player during the Mourinho era, just to justify his decision and not having to admit he needed the money.
But the bottom line is simply regaining dominance, like you expect from a team that has spent so much over the last five years in an attempt to topple the Barcelona rule. Real Madrid have one only one league title in the last five seasons, which is unacceptable considering they’ve spent a lot more than their rivals. They’ve never been knocked out later than Barcelona in the Champions League, not to mention failing to win the competition since 2002, or reaching its final.
Bale is obviously going to need some time. He hardly practiced all summer, as he acted very professionally and ignored his contract by forcing his way out of Tottenham instead of acting like every other person who works in the world. Bale got what he wanted, but there’s a certain way you expect such high profile individuals to behave, but Bale acted like a child who cares about nothing else but to realize his childhood dream, and getting rich in the process.
How will they co-exist? Hard to tell. Ancelotti will probably start Bale with bench cameos, and shift tactics midway through the match as he’s done a few times already this season. Ronaldo will start out on the left, and move into a more central position (Which isn’t as good for him) once Bale comes in. Maybe later on, once Bale is fit for 90 minutes once more, we’ll start seeing the Welshman playing as something of an attacking midfielder and not forcing Ronaldo out of his preferred position.
Attention and expectations aren’t new to anyone on this Real Madrid team, with someone like Isco getting used quite quickly to the brighter lights and bigger stage. Bale? It’s a little bit new for him – White Hart Lane doesn’t offer the thrills the Santiago Bernabeu does. However, if it takes a bit too long for him to get used to his new surroundings, he’ll get no sympathy from anyone, including the local press and fans. When you come for such a price, there is no grace period. You need to perform, win and deliver right away.