It had been a long time coming. Almost eight years after swapping England for Spain and about eight months since returning to North London, the extraordinary Gareth Bale finally surpassed the landmark of 50 Premier League goals.
One of Tottenham’s finest players in the Premier League era, Bale was simply unplayable in his final year before moving to Madrid and has shown flashes of the same brilliance on his return to White Hart Lane on loan this season. His hat-trick against a relegated Sheffield United side took him to nine Premier League goals this season, and 51 overall – not bad for a player who has spent most of his career on different shores.
A scorer of spectacular goals and one of the most talented players that Wales has ever produced, Bale’s had his fair share of magical goals in a Tottenham shirt – here we look back on five strikes that have defined his time in the Premier League.
Gareth Bale – Best Goals in Premier League
First goal: Vs Fulham (1st September 2007)
Heading all the way back to the autumn of 2007 and the beginning of Gareth Bale’s six year stay at Tottenham, the then-18-year-old left back opened his account for Tottenham on just his second appearance for the club.
Playing in away draw with Fulham, the teenager brought down a deft ball over the top of the Fulham defence, raced towards goal on the left-hand side, and despite having Dimitar Berbatov free for a tap-in, instead calmly rolled in a strike at the near post.
Bale would go on to score just once more in the Premier League over the next two seasons, with his potential as a winger still yet to be recognised in those days.
50th goal: Vs Sheffield United (2nd May 2021)
Almost fourteen years on from that day at Fulham, Bale reached a half century of Premier League goals in his second spell at Spurs, in the midst of scoring a hat-trick against a dismal Sheffield United side, just his second ever in the English top flight.
His second goal of the three brought him the landmark 50. Played through on goal just inside the Sheffield United half, Bale raced towards goal unchallenged and fired a clinical finish into the top right hand corner beyond a despairing Aaron Ramsdale.
If he does leave North London again this summer, then this was a memorable way to sign off as this season nears its conclusion.
Best goal: Vs West Ham United (25th February 2013)
It’s not easy to choose the best goal for a player who makes scoring worldies look easy. However, in my opinion at least, his last-minute winner against West Ham in 2013 takes the crown.
Receiving the ball more than 30 yards out, and with an opposition player directly in front of him, Bale took one casual step to his left and went for the strike, hitting an absolute bullet of a shot straight into the top right-hand corner.
Even by his extraordinary standards, to hit a dipping shot of that accuracy from that distance out of absolutely nothing was something truly special, especially at the very end of the game. Just how many times has he done that over the years?
Most important goal: Vs Chelsea (17th April 2010)
We head back to the tail end of the 2009/10 season for this one, with Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham chasing an unlikely top four spot to qualify for the Champion’s League for the first time ever.
In a crucial, must-win London Derby against eventual champions Chelsea, Bale received the ball down his familiar left-hand side, and ran at Blues defender Paulo Ferreira. Approaching the penalty area, Bale turned the fullback inside out before smashing in a clinical strike at the near post on his weaker right foot.
It would prove to be the winner in a match that gave Spurs the fire that they needed to push on for the final few games and narrowly secure a coveted Champion’s League place. Aged just 20 at the time, it was a moment of such significance in his young career.
Most memorable goal: Vs Sunderland (19th May 2013)
In a similar manner to picking out Gareth Bale’s best Premier League goal, deciding on his most memorable is also tough given that so many of them will live on in the memory for years to come.
However, what better place is there to look than Bale’s final goal in his first spell at Tottenham? In the final minute of the 90, the winger received the ball on the right-hand side, cut infield, and – you guessed it – bent the ball right into the top corner of the Sunderland net.
By that point, he was doing that so regularly that there was almost no surprise whatsoever at the goal. A spectacular moment in a career that has glistened with them, and a fitting way to say goodbye to the Spurs faithful before embarking on his legendary career with Real Madrid.
Manchester City and England fan. Writer of opinion and features on all things Premier League and beyond.