Gareth Bale vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: The Real Madrid Rivalry Begins
It's the picture worth €194 million.
The image of the incumbent Bernabeu king and the man aiming to emulate and dethrone him has been analysed beyond all normal parameters in the media: even Esquire Magazine has scrutinised the body language and fashion choices.
It's quite clear that the Welshman looks up to C-Ron, but how competitive are things going to get between the pair who favour the same position on the field?
Allow B/R to wade in on the analysis with a round-by-round look at the new rivalry...
Anyone who has watched footage of a top-flight team exiting their bus will know that a professional footballer is only as good as his manbag.
It's difficult to know what they actually carry in these washbags (does a millionaire sportsman really need to carry his deodorant and shaving cream under his arm? Isn't there a "guy" for that?), but they have certainly made headlines on Thursday.
Sky Sports News have made a big deal out of the fact that Bale's Louis Vuitton washbag costs £420, while Ronaldo only spent £265 on his Gucci one, like some kind of disgusting homeless person.
Winner: Gareth Bale, of course. Using the calculations of whatbaleearns.co.uk, it would have taken him 12.5 minutes to earn enough to pay for his triumphant manbag. (Let's casually ignore the fact that Bale also seems to be holding a supermaket plastic bag.)
Look at Cristiano resplendent in his crisp, white, made-to-measure shirt.
If he does an extra few dumb-bell bench presses tonight, he'll need to call his tailor for a new one. It goes perfectly with the Jack Sparrow pirate belt and continental-style distressed jeans.
Bale, on the other hand, looks like he's wearing a hoodie he bought in the Gap New Year sale a few years ago, along with the jeans people wore to Stone Roses gigs in the early '90s.
Winner: Ronaldo. Come on, Gareth, you're a Galactico now! You can't wear non-tailored, high-street clothing!
A professional footballer must be judged squarely on how big, gauche and obnoxious his watch is. And maybe a bit on football talent.
But mostly the watch thing.
Ronaldo is setting a fine example by wearing an oversized Jacob and Co mechanical piece that is jammed with enough delicate complications to warrant a price tag of more than £10,000. He also wins bonus points for being paid to wear it.
On his arrival at the Ciudad, it wasn't even clear if Bale was wearing a watch. In previous instances, his wristwear choice has appeared discreet and normal. Boo.
And while we're talking about jewellery, Bale needs to hurry up and get both of his ears pierced. No one will take him seriously until he does. Just ask Mesut Ozil.
Winner: Ronaldo. It's time for your agent to get on the phone to Cartier, Gareth.
Ronaldo needs to keep his hair short, tight and heavily gelled to avoid the Kramer-style curly bouffant he sported at Sporting.
Due to his curly locks, it seems unlikely C-Ron will be able to grow the haircut Bale and 99 percent of footballers currently have: Short on the back and sides, long and swept to the side on top, and a shaved tramline for good measure.
Winner: Bale, by a hair's breadth.
Cristiano Ronaldo looks like this. Gareth Bale is from Wales.
Winner: That'll be Ronaldo.
The Colour Pink
While avoiding the Tottenham training ground a few weeks ago, Bale gazumped the Portuguese star by teaming a pink baseball cap with a pink v-neck shirt.
It's essentially a Ronaldo tribute costume—but it has certainly made us question the rightful owner of the colour.
Winner: Bale. Ronaldo will need a pink hat, shirt, trousers and shoes combo to win this back. Fashion is all about oneupmanship, you see.
Did Ronaldo help launch Real Madrid's Chelsea-tribute away shirt? Nope.
Was he relegated in favour of Marcelo, Karim Benzema and Bale when launching the orange third kit on Wednesday? Yup.
The Welshman turned up late (he needs a bigger watch) and required a translator, but he was still deemed a bigger publicity draw for the press event.
Winner: Bale, who wears orange well.
Overdeveloped Leg Muscles
Neither of these legs look normal. But apparently they can both pull off spectacular free-kicks.
Winner: Ronaldo marginally outmuscles his rival in this category, thanks to his combination of low body fat and hugely-protruding quads.
Football ability? What does this have to do with their rivalry?
Bale believes Ronaldo is the world's greatest player and Ronaldo believes Ronaldo is the world's greatest player.
We can talk about statistics all day long, but until they share the same team—which they may do against Villarreal on Saturday—this one is undecided.
At the end of the contest, it's a tie! After years of trying to become Ronaldo, Gareth Bale appears to have become his equal.
We wonder if Carlo Ancelotti will see it that way...