There are many attributes required to succeed at the loftiest heights of sporting endeavour.
They all contribute to an all-round performance.
Courage and mental toughness, that which brings out the ability to play through pain, being amongst them. All prerequisite's to make success concur with one's wishes.
The courage to push through the pain barrier and go the extra one percent for the benefit of the team. When oxygen depleted cells are screaming for relief, mental toughness enters to give courage a gentle nudge in the right direction.
All so valuable, but one trait to bait the coming out of a dream is speed.
The agility of speeds ability to commandeer many a soul to demean. With that, the speed to take another's paradise and turn it into a searing gate of hell.
Speed, plenty of speed, fleet of foot and acute of mind, speed in all facets. Where the mind goes, speed soon follows. When speed fades, talent bids farewell. Speed, not many possess and not many does a champion make.
With such velocity goes yet another dream towards the upper echelons of the night sky. Year upon year, one success after another and finding flight from within, the wins become him. Speed, such speed, the speed to thrill and the speed to kill a contender's hope. The speed to elevate to the loftiest of heights and the speed to engrave a reputation for life and beyond. That thrill, the thrill of a goal achieved, the thrill of adoration that comes with being number one, the thrill, the thrill.
Gareth Bale has that speed. And man can he thrill.
For he had a dream. A dream to play for Real Madrid. That dream became a reality and his reality became his dream. It took something special to bring about that success though.
He was mocked for being an overpaid show pony who would offer nothing to this team. And that was before he had kicked a ball in anger, but he persevered despite the perceptions.
And what changed those perceptions? One run. One scintillating run down one narrow corridor on his side's left edge. Just one run. One run. With that one run, the world became his oyster. No longer was he open to ridicule as he scorched his way down field, kicked ahead, sprinted around a foe and outside of the left touchline, back in, cut a swath across field and scored. Speed.
To any other, not possible. To Gareth Bale, all in a day's work. For that is the intangible of speed. Have it and you will make the otherworldly appear increasingly like the normal. It constantly stuns one with the brightest of vistas.
He had taken awhile to regain his fitness after injuries and the perceptions of him as a player lingered, yet once he applied the salve of speed, all was right in his world.
As he sped his way down that left edge that defining day, there were dreams of greatness. There were dreams of becoming a hero for the club he had idolised since he was a young boy. And, of course, there were dreams of becoming not just the World's highest paid player, but one of the World's elite in every sense of the word.
To this he achieved, and why? One word, speed. The speed to speed to the speediest of speedy climax's.
Say it again; Speed. One word yet worth so much. In Gareth Bales case, eighty-five million pounds.
Again, speed: A winner's salvation and a loser's condemnation at the mercy of the ultimate power.
That is what makes one Gareth Bale and another soon forgotten.