Schalke 1 Real Madrid 6: Gareth Bale performance was 'best of the season,' claims Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti - European - Football - The Independent

Schalke 1 Real Madrid 6: Gareth Bale performance was 'best of the season,' claims Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti

£86m Welshman was in fine form in Germany on Tuesday night

When Real Madrid president Florentino Perez showed Vicente del Bosque the door in 2003 he could scarcely have imagined he would still be chasing a 10th European crown more than a decade later.

During two stints at the helm of the world's richest club, construction magnate Perez has been through seven coaches since Del Bosque was discarded but in Carlo Ancelotti he may finally have found the man who can secure the "decima" that has eluded Real since their last Champions League triumph in 2002.

They began the season shakily under the Italian, who replaced Portuguese Jose Mourinho at the end of last term, but he has gradually moulded his expensively assembled squad into a formidable force with a mean defence and one of the most lethal attacks in football.

Wednesday's 6-1 romp at Schalke 04 showcased the talents of the forward trio known collectively as "BBC" - Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo - with each scoring twice as Real totally overwhelmed the hapless Bundesliga side to practically ensure their place in the quarter-finals.

"It was the perfect match," Ancelotti, who won the Champions League with AC Milan twice as a player and twice as a coach, said at a news conference after the last 16, first leg in Gelsenkirchen.

"We played a very good game as we scored two early goals and then things opened up for us," the 54-year-old added.

"We made the most of the counter attack and the speed of our forwards."

Returning to action after serving a three-match ban in La Liga, Ronaldo took his goals tally in Europe's elite club competition this season to 11.

With the Portugal forward and FIFA Ballon d'Or winner on such scintillating form and ably supported by Wales winger Bale and France striker Benzema it is hard to see how any team can stop Real from scoring.

"The three forwards scored and helped the team a lot, they are very dangerous in attack," Ancelotti said.

"Cristiano doesn't surprise me. He was really up for the game following his ban. He prepared very well for this game and played very well.

"Benzema's performance was very good, not only for the goals but because he helped the team in holding on to the ball and also made assists.

"It could have been Bale's best game of the season because he had more confidence and attacked very well in the deep areas."

Real have a few days rest before they take on Atletico Madrid in Sunday's La Liga derby and victory would put them six points clear of their city rivals with 12 games left.

Champions Barcelona are also three points behind leaders Real and host promoted Almeria in Sunday's late game. Real's return match at home to Schalke is on March 18.

"It's true that we have a big advantage but we still have to play the second leg," Ancelotti said.

"We have to show respect to Schalke, to the fans and to the competition. We will play as well as we can in the return."

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Sport
David Moyes and Rio Ferdinand
FootballRio Ferdinand on why the former manager failed at United
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
News
i100
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories