Gareth Bale had to be content with just a short and sweet appearance at the Turk Telecom Arena on Tuesday night, but he will be delighted to have gotten his Real Madrid Champions League career off to a winning start as Los Merengues scored six in Turkey.
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will take all the post-match plaudits for a marvelous second-half hat-trick and deserves all that will come his way.
Bale, though, will also have noticed excellent displays from Karim Benzema, Isco and Angel di Maria in the Madrid forward line.
The Welshman came on immediately after Ronaldo had scored his first and Real Madrid's third of the night, replacing Isco and slotting in on the right flank. His introduction allowed Ronaldo to then play off of Benzema, while Di Maria moved to the left.
Bale's impact was immediate, with a delightful free-kick finding Sergio Ramos just three minutes after his introduction. Ramos' header was well-saved, but Ronaldo was on hand to turn in the rebound.
He should really have added to that bright start with a goal just minutes later. Benzema burst through onto a through ball and played the ball wide to an unmarked Bale at the corner of the area.
His shot, though, was comfortably saved by Fernando Muslera.
The rest of the match was a mixed bag as far as the former Spurs man was concerned, with a poor cross and lack of understanding with Benzema standing out as two blots on the copybook.
At the same time, however, he showed a great turn and burst of pace to force Galatasaray left-back Albert Riera into a poor challenge.
A fine pass to pick out the rampaging Daniel Carvajal in the closing minutes, as well as a role in the buildup to Benzema's second goal of the night, ended what has to be considered a good cameo for Bale.
His brief Champions League debut will be given little attention given the result and performances of both Ronaldo and Benzema.
Nevertheless, it was a fine start to his Champions League career at his new club.
Whether Bale will find his feet on the right of the Real attack long-term remains to be seen. Luis Nieto of Diario AS (h/t ESPN FC) attributed Bale's hit-or-miss La Liga debut on Saturday to him preferring the left flank.
He showed that he will help create chances for his new side and, while there were a couple of moments when there was a lack of chemistry with his new colleagues, that will come in time.
Had he found the back of the net with his one chance of the night, it would have rounded off a good display, but he will be content to be heading back to Madrid with another game under his belt—and a 6-1 victory to boot.
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