If Bale had access to a copy of The Sunday Times (subscription required) last weekend, he could well have read a piece from Jonathan Northcroft and Duncan Castles saying that Manchester United were keeping tabs on his situation.
In their piece, Northcroft and Castles wrote:
Manchester United are monitoring Gareth Bale’s form at Real Madrid in the hope of bringing back the Welshman to the Premier League.
With Madrid’s president, Florentino Perez, already under pressure for sanctioning Bale’s world-record £85m fee and the player facing criticism from a sceptical Spanish media, United believe a deal may be possible in the close season.
There could be a certain amount of substance to claims United are monitoring a player Real shelled out in the region of €100 million for, given their current troubles and failure to land a marquee capture last summer.
But for the tale to play out with Bale leaving Real just one season into a six-year contract, it would take a remarkable fall from grace for a player who was named PFA and FWA Player of the Year while with Tottenham last season.
It took the 90 minutes of Bale’s full home debut for Real to consign the story to the realms of fish-and-chip paper.
Sevilla were the side to feel the full force of Bale, and he produced the sort of sizzling form that persuaded Real he was worthy of his massive transfer fee.
Two goals and a couple of assists helped Bale pick up a perfect 10 in WhoScored’s match rankings.
WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 31, 2013
It was a display that drew praise from the Spanish press. The English version of Marca described Bale’s performance:
In the 13th minute Isco showed a turn of pace in midfield and passed to Benzema who burst into the area and squared the ball to Gareth Bale. The Welshman fired the ball into the top corner with his left foot on his first starting appearance at the Bernabeu.
Bale played out on the right and played a key part in the game. His link-up play with Benzema worked well in the first half, which saw Madrid dominate Sevilla.
The Welshman then scored the second from a free-kick which deflected off the hand of Alberto Moreno to elude Beto, as it turned out to be a lucky day for the forward.
One positive performance does not bury the issues that have dogged Bale since his arrival in the Spanish capital. Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti had always maintained that Bale would come good when shaking off his injuries, and he was glowing in his praise following the 7-3 win over Sevilla.
Speaking at a press conference following the game, picked up by the Mirror’s Joe Mewis, Ancelotti said:
Tonight everyone saw the real Gareth.
He played really well, showing fantastic skills. It takes time [to adapt] but it was a necessity.
Now he doesn't have problems physically and he is improving his confidence, so he will be very important for us in the future.
There could be further bumps in the road for Bale, but he gave a snapshot of his true quality on Wednesday, and it will be Real who will reap the benefit for years to come, not Manchester United.