Gareth Bale is one of the best footballers on the planet at the moment and the Welsh sensation has produced a magnificent individual performance as Real Madrid have fought back against Rayo Vallecano.
Bale, before his Spurs heroics, was a Southampton boy. The Saints academy is one of the most successful in Europe and has an outstanding record for producing truly exceptional players. The Welsh winger was a flying left-back when he made his name at the club in the lower leagues and he is not alone in making a move from Southampton to the big time.
The Real Madrid man has carried his nation to the European Championship, become the most expensive player in the history of the game and begun to prove himself as a talisman for Real Madrid. Despite a plethora of questionable haircuts and regular injuries, Bale is quickly becoming an icon at the Bernabeu.
The Welshman is not alone as a former Saint who has become a star at a massive European clubs… here are FOUR more…
Lallana, along with several others, travelled with Southampton from the depths of League One to the top half of the Premier League.
Although the gifted attacking midfielder is now plying his trade alongside Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, he was very much made at St Mary’s.
When a baby faced Theo Walcott made the move to Arsenal, he was just a fresh young thing whose voice had hardly broken and his game was as raw as it was exciting.
Walcott has not developed as many would hope and it wouldn’t be astonishing if he left the Gunners this summer.
Taken as a ‘wildcard’ to the 2006 World Cup, Walcott – largely due to injury problems – has never made the impact that so many had hoped for at club nor international level.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has had a pretty terrible 2015/16 campaign and there have even been links of a move away for the former Saint.
Since his arrival at Arsenal in 2011, Chamberlain has struggled to nail down a regular starting place and the arrival of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck has just pushed the winger further down the pecking order. The powerful midfielder is still only 22 and, although many have been disappointment with his lack of improvement, there is still hope for him at the elite level of the game.
Much like Chamberlain and Walcott, Shaw’s career since his big move has been blighted by injury.
Both seasons at Manchester United have been dominated by serious injuries and he is incredibly unlikely to make the squad for Euro 2016 after breaking his leg in September. The marauding left-back has foolishly been likened to Gareth Bale in the past, but it would take quite a turn around for Shaw to emulate the Real Madrid man.
Manchester United fans will be hoping that 2016/17 can be an injury free season for this full-back, otherwise he risks missing out on his opportunity at Old Trafford.