There is great fun in imagining Carlo Ancelotti’s phone giving off a beep indicating that a message had arrived from the Real Madrid president. “Hi. New footballer on the way. Attacking, forward, wide, playmaker type thing. Cost loads. Please use him. Or I'll fire you. Love, Florentino!” “Mama Mia!” cries the Madrid manager in response, waving his arms like a Rome traffic cop on the dilemma to come.
Poor Carlo may not just have to accommodate yet another footballer into an increasingly competitive forward line, with The Guardian reporting Spurs are prepared to let Gareth Bale leave for the Spanish capital. He is also going to have to break the news to Cristiano Ronaldo that a shinier, more expensive sheriff in the form of the Welshman is in town. It will be like introducing a baby into a household with a beloved and spoiled family pet. Ancelotti will have to put items of Bale’s used clothing in Ronaldo’s locker to help the forward become accustomed to the scent.
Either way, putting Ronaldo on the bench is not an option on the grounds that the Portuguese footballer is astonishingly good. What’s more, the club president has said that he would like Ronaldo to spend the rest of a glorious career at Real Madrid. That will not happen if Bale is taking his spot in the years to come. So Ancelotti is going to have to find a way to play both in the same side. Or at least hope that the pair have alternating knee niggles or suspensions week-in, week-out, so all tough decisions can be postponed.
Gareth Bale on the left
Based on how Jose Mourinho liked to use Ronaldo—to absolutely enormous success—using Bale on the left-hand side of a forward line would see Ronaldo having to make way. That could be a difficult conversation to have, as the Portuguese player is not a natural man to lead the line, despite being an astonishingly prolific poacher. Ronaldo could play on the right-hand side, but that would be messing with an already established system just to fit in a footballer who cost over €100 million.
Gareth Bale in the Hole
A more logical spot for the Welshman would be behind the striker, Karim Benzema, and alongside Ronaldo, who would remain on the left. It really would be a “what do you think of them apples!” middle finger to opposition defenders, who would not be able to cope with an attack that is brutally efficient both from short and long range. But then of course, Ancelotti has the thorny poser of what to do with Mesut Oezil, who excels in this position. And then there is newly arrived and also pricey Isco. Either could be moved to the right, but one brilliant footballer will be unhappy on the bench for much of the campaign.
Gareth Bale on the right
The Spurs man played some games on the right towards the end of last campaign for the London club, so it would not be a bad idea at all. The Welshman’s dynamism would act as a pleasing balance to Ronaldo on the left-hand side and still allow either Oezil and Isco to take up the playmaking role. Of course, it would be curtains for Angel di Maria’s career at the Santiago Bernabeu unless the Argentinean wants to spend 10 months watching everyone else play football, except himself.
It is a cop-out to say that Ancelotti can play with a fluid, multi-tasking, rotating forward line and not have to deal with the matter. However, a decisions needs to be made by the Italian boss. Based on the quality of the footballer already in the squad, Ronaldo, the best spot for Bale would be on the right. Probably.