Gareth Bale scores on Real Madrid debut
The world's most expensive signing makes an immediate impact for Real as the HK$1 billion man scores in his team's 2-2 draw with Villarreal
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti hailed world record signing Gareth Bale's attitude after the Welshman scored on his debut in the Spanish giants' 2-2 draw with Villarreal.
Real broke the transfer record when they paid Tottenham Hotspur €100 million (HK$1.03 billion) to sign the winger this month and he struck in the 38th minute at the El Madrigal to cancel out Cani's opener for the hosts.
The 24-year-old was withdrawn by Ancelotti along with fellow debutant Asier Illarramendi on the hour mark due to their lack of match fitness.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who has agreed to a contract extension with the club, then briefly put Real ahead before Giovani dos Santos, like Bale a former Tottenham player, struck 21 minutes from time to ensure the spoils were shared.
Ancelotti was happy with the contribution of his new players.
"I think they did well. I didn't want to run the risk of playing them for 90 minutes because it is not good for them in their first game for a while," he said.
"I think Bale is happy because he has scored for the first time with Real Madrid, which is very important for him. It was a difficult game for all of us but he played well and showed a good attitude."
Bale said on his official Twitter feed: "Proud to score on my debut and pleased to get 60 minutes tonight, just disappointed not to get the result."
"Looking forward to Tuesday now," he added, a reference to Real's opening Champions League game at Turkish rivals Galatasaray in group B.
As Ancelotti had indicated in his pre-match press conference, Bale lined up on the right side of the attack with Ronaldo featuring mainly down the left.
However, the two did exchange positions at times, and Ancelotti expects that is something they will be able to do to even greater effect with more playing time together.
"It was the first time that they have played together. Now and again they are going to change positions because the movement that they have, but it wasn't a specific point we had instructed them to do."
Bale's debut was also hailed by Real's director of institutional relations, Emilio Butragueno.
"It is great news that he has scored on his debut," he told the French television outlet Canal Plus. "It was his first game with his teammates and he has only had three days with them, but he is a player with enormous potential."
The real star of the show for Madrid though was goalkeeper Diego Lopez as he responded to calls by some for Iker Casillas to be reinstated as number one with a string of fine stops to save his side slipping to their first defeat of the campaign.
However, Ancelotti said he would stick by his decision to start Casillas for the first time this season against Galatasaray tomorrow.
"Diego was ready and reacted very well," said the Italian. I don't know if he saved us because with more attention to detail in midfield we could have won the match.
"The decision for Tuesday has already been taken. The two keepers know it and there will be no problem."
The draw left Barcelona and Atletico Madrid as the only perfect teams through four rounds in the Spanish league following their wins.
Barcelona appeared to have the win easily in hand after Dani Alves opened with a header in the 36th and Neymar capped a stellar performance by setting up Lionel Messi for his league-leading sixth goal in the 75th.
But Ivan Rakitic pulled one back in the 85th and served a corner kick for Jorge Andujar to score in the 90th put Sevilla on the cusp of a dramatic draw.
That was when Messi drew a save from Sevilla goalkeeper Antonio Bastos, with the rebound falling for Alexis to poke home.
Agence France-Presse, Associated Press