Despite costing a world record transfer fee and performing admirably in his debut campaign, there have still been some murmurings among the Real Madrid faithful this season that rising star and local hero Jese deserves a place ahead of Gareth Bale.
In a twist of fate Jese now faces the rest of the campaign on the sidelines following a nasty knee injury sustained on Champions League duty against Schalke in the Bernabeu, a game in which Bale came on to replace the young Spaniard.
And despite not adding to his own impressive tally of four goals in Europe’s top competition, the Welsh wizard still seized the opportunity to catch the eye ahead of Madrid’s league biggest game of the season, by laying on a plate two of the three goals.
Bale and co host Barcelona in La Liga next up in what promises to be a title-defining Clasico with Real currently four points ahead. There’s little to split them, at 5/4, from their Catalan rivals’ 2/1 for victory, with the draw a 13/5 shot.
By taking the selfless route on both occasions against Schalke and teeing up his teammates, Bale took his Champions League assist count to three and also solidified his burgeoning status as Los Merengues’ most effective assister.
In his first season in unfamiliar, yet sunnier climbs, Signor Bale has set about assisting up a storm in La Liga, as well as weighing in with 10 goals from 17 league appearances.
According to WhoScored.com, only Cesc Fabregas’ dozen assists top Bale’s contribution of 11 to date, which has clearly contributed to Cristiano Ronaldo’s league-leading 25 strikes this season.
With Jese out of the picture, Bale can score and assist his way into Madrid hearts, starting with El Clasico.
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