It’s been 12-years since a fresh faced teenager called Gareth Bale made his Wales debut against Trinidad and Tobago.
At 16 years and 315 days old, Bale became the youngest player ever to play for Wales (which has since been beaten by Harry Wilson at 16 years and 207 days in 2013) and notched an assist to Robert Earnshaw after coming on to replace David Vaughn in the 55th minute.
Fast forward to 2018, and that young kid has now become Wales’ record goal scorer, beating Ian Rush’s previous record of 28 goals.
“This is right up there, if not the best achievement I have done.” Bale said after the game.
Despite Bale clearly being the best player for Wales, and one of the best in world football he still paid homage to his teammates.
“On a personal note it’s great to break the record, but I could not have done it without my team-mates.”
Wales are in China to play in the 2018 China Cup, and they had a dream start against the host with a 6 – 0 thrashing of the Chinese.
In the dominating display under new manager Ryan Giggs, Bale scored twice in the opening 21-minutes to pull level with the record at 28, and then he completed his hat-trick in the 62nd minute to go clear at the top of the record books.
Sam Vokes found the net twice in the game, and a first goal for Harry Wilson secured a huge 6 – 0 win that secures a spot in the 2018 China Cup final where they’ll face Uruguay.
So just how did Bale become a record setter? We already know he’s done it financial when he become the most expensive player in the world with his £86 million transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013 (a fee that nowadays is actual more reasonable than some transfers lately)
Bale began his goal scoring career for Wales as a record setter. On October 7th 2006 against Slovakia, Bale became the youngest ever goalscorer for Wales, scoring a free kick in a 5 – 1 loss during the Euro 2008 qualifying stage.
After scoring his first Wales goal ever against Slovakia, it only makes sense that his first goal in a major tournament came against the same Nation.
As Wales began what ended up being a fantastic Euro 2016 campaign, Bale scored the first goal of the tournament for the Welsh in an eventual 2 – 1 victory over the Slovakians, and scored in all three group stage games as Wales topped the group in their first major tournament appearance since 1958 where they were knocked in the quarter finals of that years World Cup in a 1 – 0 loss to Brazil, with a then young and upcoming start Pelé netting the only goal of the game.
Since making his debut in 2006, Bale has scored 29 times against 19 different countries.
He scored twice in two separate games against Switzerland, Andorra, Serbia and Slovakia, and his first brace came in October 2012 against Scotland, and now this marks his first hat-trick for his country and at Just 27-years-old there’s still more to come from Bale.
With Uruguay up next, a goal then would be the first against a South American side in what will be Bale’s 70th cap. And again given his age, it won’t be long until the conversation turns to him becoming the most capped Welshman of all time, if he can beat Neville Southall’s record of 92.
‘Bale celebrates scoring one of his 3 goals vs China in the China Cup Semi Final’
Image Credit: Reuters
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