Who needs Cristiano Ronaldo? Gareth Bale hailed as a 'leader' by Spanish press

£86m Welshman opened the scoring with stunning free-kick in Ronaldo's absence

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The Independent Football

Gareth Bale has been hailed as a “leader” by the Spanish press, after his fine performance in the Champions League against Galatasaray on Wednesday night was capped by a ferocious 30-yard free-kick, one of the best scored by the £86m Welshman in his career to date.

In the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was out of the 4-1 victory with a leg muscle strain, Madrid-based daily newspaper Marca wrote that Bale was integral to all of Real’s attacking in the win, and that the 24-year-old “shone” at the Bernabeu.

“The team needed a leader on the pitch and all eyes were on Gareth Bale,” Santiago Siguero wrote in Marca. “Real was at its best when the Welshman shone.”

It was Bale’s second free-kick goal for Madrid since his world record move from Tottenham in the summer, bringing his total up to 11 goals-assists (6 goals-5 assists) from his 12 matches for Real this season.

Watch the free-kick below...