It's a rarefied air to be one of the Galacticos. Very few players will ever be worth the amount of money it takes to enter Galactico status, let alone be of the caliber to play for a club of Real Madrid's stature.
But with the honor also comes the pressure. The pressure to be worth the money. The pressure to be one of the best players in the world. The pressure to live up to the expectations of the supporters, no matter what those expectations may be.
Given the term is "Galacticos," you might say such a player has more than the weight of the word on his shoulders. And the latest to enter this elite club, Gareth Bale, may be facing more pressure than any other Galactico in Real Madrid's history.
And that's where Cristiano Ronaldo can help.
Like Bale, Ronaldo was the world's most expensive transfer at the time of his signing with Real Madrid.
Unlike Bale, Ronaldo had already won a Champions League title and Ballon d'Or with Manchester United, and his sale didn't result in an extremely popular player like Mesut Ozil being shipped to Arsenal.
The latter facts could sting Ronaldo's famously large ego and make him distraught after losing a table-setter in Ozil that he trusted. Or he could put aside his own feelings and consider that assisting Bale's transition to a new team, in a new country, with a new level of pressure being placed upon his shoulders, will help Real Madrid in both the short- and long-term.
And hey, look—the two are already getting along, or at least they were told to get along in front of the cameras before training.
Surely nothing about that was staged, eh?
Ronaldo knows what it's like to come to La Liga from the Premier League. The world's spotlight does not burn too brightly for him. He has the experience to take Bale under his wing and not only aid his adjustment to the ways of Real Madrid, but also share some wisdom on how to handle the perils of superstardom.
And the spoils, of course.
The thought of these two players attacking from opposite wings is truly frightening. Both are direct, speedy wingers with devastating shots from distance and the versatility to play elsewhere on the pitch. Where Ronaldo has fancier footwork, Bale is sturdy and won't be pushed off the ball.
If they can coexist—and if we can all get past the incessant debate on who will take the free kicks—few teams will be able to handle a Real Madrid counterattack.
But if Ronaldo only sees Bale as a potential replacement or feels disrespected by Los Blancos' big-money move to bring him from Tottenham, the entire chemistry of the team could become rather combustible.
And in the process, Bale could collapse from all of the pressure, both the expectations coming from outside of the locker room and the pressure within it (and let's not get started on the weighty expectations he's surely set for himself).
Without question, Ronaldo's ego is a part of the reason he's as good as any player in the world. His continuous desire to show he's the best spurs him to work harder than most players. His desire to be in the spotlight pushes him to do whatever it takes to ensure he's worthy of the brightest lights.
But in this instance, he needs to sacrifice a part of his ego for the betterment of the team and help to make Bale's transition as easy as possible. Nobody is saying they need to become best buddies—though wouldn't that just be adorable?—but the last thing Real Madrid needs is its two superstars at odds with one another.
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