Cristiano Ronaldo V Gareth Bale – 8 Incredible Facts
1. Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two most expensive players in the world.
In 2014, Real Madrid broke the world record to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur for around 85 million pounds, previously held by their signing for Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for around 81 million pounds.
The Spanish press have long claimed that Ronaldo was angered by this amount as he felt that he had done more than Gareth Bale when they were signed and that he was worth more.
Many believe that this has led to a dislike of Gareth Bale by Cristiano Ronaldo which has been shown in several moments during matches for Real Madrid.
2. They have played each other 6 times before
The last time Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo played each other was in April 2011 during a Champions League match between Real Madrid and Tottenham.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid won the match by 5-0 (on aggregate), leaving Tottenham and Bale red-faced and embarrassed.
The other previous encounters were for Manchester United V Tottenham Hotspur during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 Premier League seasons.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo is getting worse, Gareth Bale is getting better
Many people in football believe that Cristiano Ronaldo has lost much of his electric pace while Gareth Bale will continue to improve for the next few years.
The speed that has defined much of both players’ careers is now much more prominent is Gareth Bale’s game than Cristiano Ronaldo’s.
Added to this is the feeling that Cristiano Ronaldo has already peaked and Real Madrid may look to sell him to Manchester United over the summer to be reunited with former manager Jose Mourinho.
The president of Real Madrid has repeatedly said that he wishes to build team around Gareth Bale and that Bale is the future of Real Madrid.
Obviously, this has further played into the rivalry between the two as Ronaldo does not like to be considered a secondary figure in the Real Madrid set up.
4. Wales are the underdogs against Portugal
Despite the bookmakers slashing the odds on Wales to 8-1 to win the Euro 2016 championship, they are still the underdogs in terms of stature and expectation.
For Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo, this is not new territory as they have played in several semi-finals before, and even the finals of Euro 2004 at home in Portugal.
Unfortunately for Cristiano Ronaldo, Greece beat Portugal in the final 1-0. This might be seen as a great omen by Welsh players and fans as the story of Greece in Euro 2004 was very similar to Wales in Euro 2016, although there is still a long way to go for Wales.
No doubt this will mean all the more motivation for Gareth Bale and Wales as Bale sees the chance to prove the critics wrong and show that he is a better player than Cristiano Ronaldo.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo has publicly got angry with Gareth Bale at Real Madrid
There have been numerous moments in games that the press have pointed to as evidence of this dislike between Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
However, both players have publicly stated that they get on very well and that they enjoy playing with each other.
Gareth Bale’s agent even went as far as saying that they “do not hate” each other, which was seen as an extreme by many people.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo has played almost two times the amount of games for his country has Bale
With the age difference between the two superstars, Cristiano Ronaldo has played for Portugal almost twice the amount of times that Gareth Bale has played for Wales.
Cristiano Ronaldo is also Portugal all time top scorer and has the most caps for his country.
Gareth Bale however holds the record for being the youngest player to play for Wales making his debut at just 17.
With this wealth of experience between them, both are used to playing for their country at the international level, although Cristiano Ronaldo’s experience in major tournaments may be a huge advantage.
Cristiano Ronaldo has played in a total of 7 major tournaments while Gareth Bale has so far only played in 1, Euro 2016.
7. Gareth Bale’s shot accuracy at Euro 2016 is much better than Cristiano Ronaldo’s
Gareth Bale has a shot accuracy of 71% so far in Euro 2016.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s shot accuracy is much lower, at 41%. In fact, he has set a new record for taking free kicks. He now holds the record for most free kicks taken without scoring a goal in both European and world championships.
Gareth Bale has already scored from two free kicks in this tournament, with a memorable goal against England from a very long distance. Although Wales won lost this game, the goal will be remembered for a long time to come by the Welsh fans.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo has much more pressure on him than Gareth Bale
Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Prestigious Ballon d’Or World Player of the Year award three times. Gareth Bale has never won this award.
At 31, Cristiano Ronaldo is older than Gareth Bale, 26, and comes from a country with more of a history of footballing success. As Cristiano Ronaldo is is that much older, this may be one of his last major tournaments for his country.
On the other hand, Gareth Bale has the years on his side and can expect to play in more future tournaments if the Welsh team continues the way it is.
Despite the personal accolades, Cristiano has never made a huge impact today international tournament. Although he helped Portugal to reach the final of Euro 2004, the last to Greece was seen as a major failure by many rather than a big achievement.
For the Welsh football team, on the other hand, reaching their first major tournament since 1958 has already been hailed as a huge success.
As such, the expectations of the Welsh footballing public are much lower than that of Portugal and the pressure is off for Wales but fully on for Portugal.