If there was one blot on Gareth Bale’s copybook heading into Wednesday’s Copa del Rey final then it was his largely anonymous showings in his first two Clasico appearances against Barcelona.
With Cristiano Ronaldo absent through injury, there was an even greater weight of expectancy on the shoulders of the Wales star but he rose to the occasion by scoring a fairytale winner five minutes from time.
Goal’s Alec Fenn says: “There appeared to be little danger when Gareth Bale picked up the ball on the halfway line as the clock struck 85 minutes at the Mestalla.
“The 24-year-old had different ideas, however, as he knocked the ball past Marc Bartra and ran off the pitch as he speeded past the helpless defender and into the penalty area.
“With just Pinto to beat from a tight angle, Bale kept his nerve and prodded the ball home with the outside of his left foot to win the game and pick up his first piece of silverware for Madrid.”