It’s the old pub debate. Who would you rather have in your team Leo Messi? Cristiano Ronaldo? or Gareth Bale? But stop and think about how much damage you could see if Real get there way and have Bale and Ronaldo in their starting lineup next year?
Firstly lets look at the proposed transfer fees you could expect to see if the prospective players were to move, now I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that Messi would a figure well in excess of £120m. Ronaldo has been surrounded by most speculation this summer with his will he, won’t he return to Old Trafford but interestingly the figure touted is only around £80m which would be the same figure that he was sold for, so all in all I think it depends on the player desire to leave. Then there is Bale, out of the three players he is the enigma. He has always quietly gone about his business, you never see him out with supermodels or in the newspapers for tax avoidance he is just Bale, a marketable throwback to the old days where all you hear about him is his performance on the pitch. You could easily expect a fee of around £55m for the Welshman who still has a lot in the tank if he stays injury free.
On the field you have the fact that Ronaldo is the oldest of the three at 28 and realistically he didn’t start performing at this supernova level till about 7 years ago which was around the same time Messi came to prominence at Barca, so you could argue that Messi has the advantage over Ronaldo as he has never had an “off” season since establishing himself with the Catalan club. Bale really toughened up as a player 4 years ago and finally seemed to find the extra level that a lot of players have always been convinced he had.
In terms of who is a game changer all three have a strong case, both Messi & Ronaldo seem to come alive around the attacking third of the pitch and always seem to be a contact threat whereas Bale seems to be at his most lethal (the San Siro hat trick withstanding) in the last quarter of he game against a tiring defence where his pace becomes a real threat. There is always an argument that Messi isn’t as good in the air as Ronaldo but I think that’s not an Issue as Reals style of playing relies more crosses being thrown into the box for the likes of Ronaldo and Benzema to attack whereas Barcelona play a more passing game with the ball staying mostly groused and to feet, and also les not forget Messi’s header against Manchester United in the Champions League Final where he showed incredible hang time. Bale again is the weakest of the three in the air As he doesn’t seem to be able to transfer the power of his running into the box and leap into the contact made with the ball, he also seems to get beaten a lot in the air.
So there you have it. It may seem like Bale is an afterthought but he is essentially a one man team as he plays at a higher level than his team mates and creates a lot of chances for himself, whereas either Messi or Ronaldo play in team of players with an equal ability and they just provide the focal point to a lot of attack.