Gareth Bale free-kicks earn comparisons with Ronaldo
Spurs winger scores two 'freaks of aerodynamics', goals which only hasten his inevitable departure
GARETH BALE scored two remarkable free-kicks to earn comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo last night as he single-handedly gave Spurs a 2-1 advantage over Lyon in their Europa League clash at White Hart Lane.
The Welshman struck first in injury time at the end of the first half, with a wicked, swerving, dipping effort from 35 yards, and then repeated the trick in added time at the end of the second half to give the home side a win. Between those strikes, Lyon full back Samuel Umtiti equalised with a quite incredible volley from the edge of the box that was still rising as it hit the net.
Bale's goals took his tally for the season to 21, and he has scored in each of his last five games, including one for Wales, netting seven times. He has also scored Tottenham's last six goals. The last time another player scored for the Lilywhites was almost three weeks ago, when Clint Dempsey struck against Leeds in the FA Cup.
After the game Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas said comparisons with Real Madrid phenomenon Ronaldo were valid. "He's incredible," said the Portuguese manager.
"Not only his all-round game but this ability that he has to strike these free-kicks. The ball gains so much power when he strikes it and it changes direction very easily. Today we saw not only two great moments but three, because their goal was absolutely fantastic too.
Gareth was fantastic."
Bale was so dominant that he bent the "toil and trouble of 22 men to the pithy will of one", said Jonathan Liew in the Daily Telegraph.
"Like a Welsh Jesus, Bale had gathered the souls of Tottenham's living believers and carried them into the chilly air."
Each of his free-kicks was a "freak of aerodynamics" that left Lyon keeper Remy Vercoutre grasping at thin air as the ball swerved and dipped in flight, said Liew.
Bale approaches the ball in a similar manner to Ronaldo. He strikes it slightly differently, but the effect is the "sort of movement you expect from the light, plastic balls that are awarded as prizes at school fair coconut shies, not one made of leather", said Goal.com.
But Bale's genius comes with a downside for Spurs. "There is a certain bittersweetness attached to the Welshman's performance(s) though, as with every devilish free kick or lung-busting run comes the looming inevitability of his departure – a player of Bale's considerable talent befits a bigger stage than the Europa League." ·