£40m-rated hero could leave a bigger legacy behind than Bale

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Tottenham Hotspur have played host to some immeasurable talent over their illustrious history, although a lack of it in recent memory has fed into their frustrating avoidance of silverware.

The Lilywhites have not won a trophy since their EFL Cup triumph in 2008, and despite having some immense players in the years since then, it always felt like those stars appeared at unfortunate times for the club, or under the completely wrong manager.

That’s not to suggest that they did not leave their mark, with the likes of Luka Modric, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and many more all widely recognised as outstanding players to have graced north London, but left without having won a thing.

Perhaps their most frustrating departure of players of this ilk was Gareth Bale, who had smashed through his ceiling to become one of the Premier League’s elite assets. So, when Real Madrid came calling with a world record fee, it was not something to be turned down.


Although they were seemingly powerless at the time, had the club been run with precision and intelligence, perhaps there might have been a squad talented enough to convince the Welshman to stick around in England.

Despite that, he would leave for Spain in an £85m move, where, like many others, the 34-year-old would win a host of trophies to build on the sole cup success earned with Spurs.

What did Gareth Bale achieve?

It almost seems an impossible task to quantify the quality of Bale with mere words given what he offered to the sport, having retired as one of the most decorated British players of all time.

Although the bulk of his silverware was won in the Spanish capital, it could be argued that some of his best days were actually enjoyed in the Premier League, as he worked his way up from a left-back on the verge of leaving the club, to their star right winger.


Boasting a unique physical profile that blended his bulky 6 foot 1 frame with lightning pace, former Saints player David Prutton had always predicted big things for the Southampton youngster: “You could see that he was unfazed, you can see that he was fit, you can see he was a real weapon to have. You could see when he was playing left-back, maybe, just maybe…

“He had the athletic ability to cover ground, at speed, at real volume. I’m not simplifying what our tactics were but a lot of it was down the left-hand side with the ball being rolled out to Gareth who would tear off down the left wing and put a decent ball in or having a crack at goal. He soon became very effective at doing that.”

Bursting onto the scene with his European hat trick against a legendary Inter Milan outfit, this would mark the platform for the 111-cap star to shine. After all, the following season he would score ten and assist 14 in the Premier League alone, creeping towards the immeasurable figures that would catch the eye of Los Blancos.


Spurs’ all-time top scorers

Goals Scored, via Transfermarkt


Harry Kane



Jimmy Greaves



Heung-min Son



Jermaine Defoe



Robbie Keane


In what was his final year for Spurs, Bale would score 26 and assist 14 across all competitions for an outfit that finished fifth in the league, rightfully winning the PFA Player of the Year award. He was far too good, and everybody knew it. Playing with the elite was only fair.

Clearly unburdened by the financial weight of his price tag, instantly the speedster would translate this form into a new country, recording 28 goal contributions alone in that first year in La Liga. Despite a rocky relationship with his new fanbase, upon departing the Santiago Bernabeu he had amassed three Spanish league titles, a host of domestic honours and five Champions Leagues, two of which he scored decisive goals in the final.

Whilst rumours circled surrounding his retirement in January 2023, which he would later confirm, his agent Jonathan Barnett noted: “When you reach a level that he’s at I think it’s important that you bow out at the right time. He doesn’t need to do anything else, he’s proved everything, he’s got a list of achievements that are quite amazing. I think he’s the best player Britain has ever produced. Why carry on? He couldn’t play at the level he wanted to anymore.”

With 236 Spurs appearances to his name, and a trophy cabinet to rival the very best, Bale’s is a legacy few will even come close to in their careers.

However, there is one man already at the north London club that has forged a reputation to rival the retired superstar’s.

Having signed in 2015, Heung-min Son has quickly grown into one of the Premier League’s most dependable and prolific goalscorers from the left flank.

Is Heung-min Son better than Gareth Bale?

Cutting in onto his wicked right foot, although it could be argued his left is just as good, few have been able to quell the threat that Son’s pace, directness and lethal touch over his eight years in England have provided.

In fact, across every full league term the 31-year-old has enjoyed with the Lilywhites apart from his debut, the South Korean has hit double figures. Even during his best season for goal contributions, which saw the £40m-rated dynamo notch 32 during the 2021/22 league campaign, surpassed that aforementioned term where Bale scored 21 and assisted eight in the league.

It is no surprise that the ex-Bayer Leverkusen ace has been lauded too, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp even claiming: “One of the big mistakes in my life was that I didn’t sign him. Outstanding player. World class player and one of the best strikers in the world. Yeah, you should be proud.”

All their figures in front of goal point towards Son actually having already surpassed Bale’s tenure at Spurs, with the only difference being that sole trophy that the former Wales international won in 2008.

However, with positivity radiating around the club following Ange Postecoglou’s fine start to life as their new leader, and the experienced winger the man tasked with now captaining the side, there is every chance that he could overcome that final hurdle to comfortably surpass the legacy left by Bale, should a trophy or two fall his way.

#40mrated #hero #leave #bigger #legacy #Bale

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