Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Gareth Bale

Sports Mole looks at the impact that Gareth Bale's arrival could have on Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo in particular.

Real Madrid, a club thought to be in around £550m of debt, have shelled out an eye-watering £165m since the summer of 2009 to land just two players - Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

The former of the two, Ronaldo, is the king of the Bernabeu. He's the player that the public pay to see - the one that they adore. It may not have always been that way, but the Portuguese superstar is now an adopted Madridista.

There is now, though, a new kid on the block - an imposter if you like (only this one is not dressed in a suit, eating pizza and claiming to be part of a Manchester United transfer deal).

Forget what Los Blancos publicise, Tottenham Hotspur drew around £85m out of them for Bale, making him the world's most expensive footballer. But ssshhh, don't tell Ronaldo, we don't want to hurt his feelings, do we?

Gareth Bale poses as a Real Madrid player at the Bernabeu on September 2, 2013© Getty Images

CR7 may have the physique of a Greek god and be one of the best players that the game has ever produced, but it's fair to say that there is an element of insecurity about his personality.

Like a toddler, Ronaldo wants to be the centre of attention, the hub of the team. He appreciates the work of his teammates, but only if they keep out of his limelight.

However, similar to a Z-list celebrity stumbling out of a London nightclub at 3am desperate to boost their career, Bale loves the camera. What's more, the Welsh flyer has cottoned on quickly where self-branding is concerned. He's trademarked the celebration that he calls "the 11 of hearts" (yuck), something even Ronaldo's bulging portfolio cannot boast. The first time that Bale finds the net in the white of Madrid, check to see if Ronaldo is in the vicinity of the celebrations. The safe bet would suggest that he trudges back to the halfway line with his head bowed.

As well as Ronaldo's unwillingness to share the spotlight with his new teammate, the arrival of Bale has also seen Madrid's shining light lose his major ally, the one player that since he joined the Spaniards a year after Ronaldo in 2010 had proved himself to be on the same wavelength - Mesut Ozil.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil celebrate a goal scored by the former.© Getty Images

Reports today have claimed that while on international duty, Ronaldo has told his colleagues that he is bitterly disappointed that Madrid sanctioned the sale of the German to Arsenal. Why? Because in three years, Ozil has laid on 27 assists for the 28-year-old - more than any other player (that includes Ronaldo's six years at Manchester United).

Having picked the ball up 20 yards from goal, more often than not, Ozil's radar would instantly locate Ronaldo. A quick pass and the ball was in the net. If Bale finds himself in a similar position, expect him to bypass Ronaldo and go for glory.

He may have made all the right noises at his unveiling earlier this week, describing the Funchal-born star as the "best player in the world" and insisting that he would leave the free kicks to his expertise, but in the heat of the battle, instinct takes hold.

It's not only Ronaldo that Bale will have to win over, either. A large majority of the Madrid dressing room are thought to be miffed by Ozil's departure to London.

Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against West Bromwich Albion.© Getty Images

"It's obvious that he is a special teammate and friend. I've always had a real 'feeling' with him, and it's a shame. He's a great footballer, unique, Everyone is free to choose the best for themselves, but if I were to decide what was happening at Madrid, he would be one of the last who would be going," offered Sergio Ramos, while full-back Alvaro Arbeloa added: "Ozil is different, there is no-one else like him in the world. He makes such a difference."

Even new boy Isco, who cost £60m less than Bale, got in on the act, saying: "Ozil, we all know, has great quality and is a player can change the balance of a game." And for good measure, Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, perhaps to rub salt in the wound of rival, claimed: "I was really surprised by Ozil's departure. He seemed to me the second-best player at Madrid, after Cristiano. He'll be great for Arsenal."

Ringing endorsements indeed, and ones that Bale is going to have to carry on his shoulders during his first few months in Spain. The Bernabeu can be the best place in the world to play your football, but it is also an unforgiving environment on occasions unless your name is Raul or Iker Casillas.

It seems that not only has Bale got to help the nine-time European champions win trophies, but he also has to prove himself to his teammates and one in particular. Buena suerte (good luck) Gareth.

Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas in action during a friendly match against Thailand XI on August 7, 2013
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