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Recalling the night Gareth Bale transformed from ‘cursed’ left back into world beater

As a Liverpool fan I remember Luis Suarez destroying Norwich in the most ridiculous individual performance I’ve personally I’ve ever witnessed.

But from a neutral perspective, the night Gareth Bale announced himself to the world stage arguably, because of the magnitude of the opposition, resonates even more.

Why reflect on that magical hat-trick against Inter Milan now?

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Well Tottenham return to the scene of the crime – the San Siro – in the Champions League as they meet Inter for the first time since Bale ran amok.

Bale’s story is one of football’s great turnarounds; a u-turn even his most ardent fan couldn’t have predicted.

The fact of the matter is, the Welshman failed to win any of his first 24 games for Tottenham.

Spurs fans were starting to see the then left back as a curse, with Sun journalist Pat Sheehan declaring after their 1-0 defeat to Everton in November 2008:

“One glance at the score and any Spurs fan will tell you without looking at the line-up that Gareth Bale must have played.”

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In October 2009 the Daily Mail were linking the Welshman with a £3m move to Birmingham City.

£3m.

One year later, Bale’s finest moment arrived on a strange night for himself as he ultimately ended up on the losing side.

Spurs were a man and 4-0 down at half time against Inter in the Champions League after Heurelho Gomes saw red for fouling Jonathan Biabiany.

It then became the Bale show.

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All three of his goals were breathtaking in their own right. He made mincemeat of a vastly experienced Brazilian international in Maicon and barely gave the equally accomplished Julio Cesar a chance.

The world was waking up to his credentials.

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From average, ‘cursed’ left back to world beater in almost an evening, Bale was now one of the hottest properties in Europe.

His Spurs career would go on to improve immeasurably and exponentially, winning two PFA Player of the Year awards in three years after adapting into a winger and then a roaming attacking force.

He was inevitably sold to Real Madrid for £86m in 2013 in what remains a world record deal.

What Spurs would do to have him back right now…


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