A Welshman scoring a hat trick in Italy and other footballing miracles of the week.

Welsh Boys on Tour
Not since John Charles has a boy from the valleys shown so much promise in an Italian stadium. Rushy had a fair crack but it was too much “like living in a foreign country”. Bale’s indistinguishable strikes are made even more remarkable when you take in to consideration the position Spurs found themselves in after 45 minutes. Shortly after Zanetti’s second minute opener, Spurs’ keeper Gomes was sent packing, reminiscent of a north London rivals red in the final four years ago. By the half mark three more had found their way past Carlo Cudicini and a beleaguered Tottenham. A half of football described by the BBC’s Alan Green as the “slaughter of the innocent”.

Unfortunately for Spurs, the comeback kid was managing the other team. So they made do with ‘Arry and a lad with a head monkey’s head, not Peter Reid but the young Bale.  Although, arguably the Plymouth manager would have at least equalled the performance of Jermain Jenas, a talent seemingly lost in the current crop of Spurs players.

Bale in the mist. Or out of it, as it were.
The former Southampton trainee’s first strike came in the 52nd minute. Following a jinking run passed an array of Inter talent, the young Welshman finished off with a powerful controlled strike into the far corner of the net. Forty minutes passed, yet despite chances and the emergence for many of Coutinho (surely with all Mr Cameron’s international aid we English could get a couple of Brazilian youngsters in return? I'll settle for a Welshman instead though), no more than the four goals purchased in the first half would materialise for the Scudetto champions. Then appeared Bale once more, finishing off another individual effort in identical fashion. Two minutes remaining, 4-2 and time for no more, surely? Apparently not and again Bale rounded the challenge of Zanetti, again he placed the ball across Julio Cesar and again he scored.  Not only had Bale just scored a hat trick at the San Siro, he’d done it in Tottenham’s biggest game of recent times and with a team of 10. Three goals which displayed all the talents of a world class winger, all at the ripe old age of 21. “Not for sale” says Redknapp firmly.  

A quick paragraph dedicated to two other miracles, in no way confined to this week, and in no way confined by ability. Ronaldo v Messi. Messi v Ronaldo. However you phrase it, the battle continued this week. I’ve got my favourite. He scored a cracker from outside the box, but then that doesn’t help much does it? Both have the potential to better  oneanother on their day, but I think this particular rivalry is summed up best by the universally accepted test of Facebook, the modern/thinking man’s litmus test. Need I say more than the group name, a summary as exact as perceivably possible: “C.Ronaldo thinks he is God. God thinks he is Lionel Messi.” Long live Lionel.

A modern footballing icon: Mr Blanco.
My final miracle of the week is perhaps the most miraculous. Raul, or Raul Gonzalez Blanco a player with a name born to play for Real (Los Blancos is the club’s most popular nickname), set two records with two goals as his current club Schalke set aside Hapoel Tel Aviv with a 3-1 victory. Raul’s first goal means he has now scored in every Champions League Season since the reformation of the European Cup in 1992, his second equaled Gerd Muller’s record of 68 goals in all European competitions. Not bad for a player criticised for lack of invention, and most bewildering; ability. Fully grown men were shown weeping as Raul waved goodbye to Madrid to see off his career with a final swansong in the Bundesliga, and who can blame them? Never has a name been so apt, and now Mr Blanco has two more records to add to his collection.

On a rather opposite note to the aforementioned miracles; Liverpool. It wasn’t so long ago that the song went “We’ve got the best midfield in the world, Xabi Alonso, Momo Sissoko, Gerrard and Mascherano” and it wasn’t that long ago that Liverpool would have been expecting a two or three goal victory away in Naples. No one can blame fans for not being inspired to pen a verse or two about Jonjo Shelvey, Chritian Poulsen, Ryan Babel and Jay Spearing, and no one can argue with the foresight of Alonso and Mascherano for leaving the club and the song behind. Gerrard remains, then and now; the best, it’s just a shame that the midfield around him as taken such a dramatic turn for the worse.


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