The Welsh winger bagged a goal and an assist at Dortmund in a performance that shows he still has much to offer for Los Blancos.
It is time to stop booing Gareth Bale. The 28-year-old has been harshly criticised by the media in Spain this season and also jeered by fans at the Santiago Bernabeu. But enough is enough.
Away to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday night, the former Tottenham midfielder showed that he still has plenty to offer. When he is given space to attack, there are few better players in the world. Perhaps none.
Bale was a constant threat on the counter-attack for Zinedine Zidane’s side in Germany. And after narrowly missing out on an opening goal as Lukasz Piszczek slid in at the far post early in the first half, he rifled home a superb volley shortly afterwards.
It was a fine piece of technique, a super strike that made a mockery of those who claim that Bale is merely an athlete and a runner. And such criticism in Spain is common.
Bale was whistled by supporters at the Bernabeu after Madrid were held to disappointing draws against Valencia and Levante, singled out by fans when many other players had also been below par.
However, he responded in spectacular style with a stunning strike at Anoeta to help Los Blancos beat Real Sociedad (who were unbeaten and joint-top of La Liga at that point).
“It’s normal, he said afterwards. “It happens in football. I just keep my head down and keep working hard. That’s all I can do. You have ups and downs in your career. It is about how you bounce back.”
There were a few more whistles as Madrid lost at home to Betis recently to fall seven points behind Barcelona in the Primera Division, but the Welshman did bounce back again in this match and also provided an assist for Cristiano Ronaldo (who later added another on his 400th appearance).
Even before that, though, Bale had participated in more Madrid goals this term than anyone else, with three strikes himself and also three assists, which later became four.
Those numbers make impressive reading and perhaps the supporters should take notice, because Bale has struggled at times this season, but he has been no worse than anyone else.
In fact, quite the contrary: the stats show he has been better than his attacking team-mates (albeit while Ronaldo missed matches through suspension), and Tuesday’s performance was another fine example of his ability.
So all in all, booing Bale is quite clearly unfair – and it really is time for fans to get behind him.