After 2,709 days, Gareth Bale is a Premier League player again.
The Wales star came off the bench in Tottenham’s clash with West Ham on Sunday for his first appearance since rejoining on loan from Real Madrid.
He replaced Steven Bergwijn in the 72nd minute, with Tottenham leading 3-0 at the time thanks to two early goals from Harry Kane and a first-minute strike from Son Heung-min.
Bale was straight into the action too, having a shot saved almost immediately after his introduction.
7 – Gareth Bale is making his first Premier League appearance for Tottenham since May 2013, seven years and 152 days ago – it’s the longest gap between appearances for a Tottenham player in the competition’s history. Return. #TOTWHU pic.twitter.com/YlY0LS1roN
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2020
It was Bale’s first game in England’s top flight since May 19, 2013, when he helped Spurs to a 1-0 win over Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
He scored the only goal of that contest in the 89th minute as Spurs just missed out on a top-four spot, finishing a point behind Arsenal in the table.
The home side, then managed by Andre Villas-Boas, struggled against a Sunderland side who narrowly avoided relegation but Bale managed nine shots in the game – five of which were on target.
His goal, when it finally came, took him to 37 goal involvements in all competitions – only Robin van Persie (39) and Juan Mata (49) were involved in more for a Premier League club that season.
Bale then completed his £100million move to Real Madrid and went on to score 80 times in 171 appearances in LaLiga, his last goal coming against Villarreal on September 1, 2019.