Happy Halloween to all, especially Welsh star forward Gareth Bale who signed a contract extension at Real Madrid (Spain) on Monday which now makes him the highest paid soccer player ($183 million for the next 6 years) in the world. He added three more years to a deal that will keep him with the Spanish giants until 2022. It’s the same old story from almost every sport: the highest paid player often isn’t the unquestioned top superstar so you can’t get too wrapped up in that albeit very relevant footnote. More importantly, Bale is at the prime of his career at 27 and he’s coming off two great campaigns with Madrid last season (ending in a Champions League title) and Wales’ unexpected run to the Euro 2016 semifinals this past summer.
Ronaldo vs. Messi Continues to be the Best Individual Rivalry in Sports
Speaking of Real Madrid (7-3-0), Bale’s teammate Cristiano Ronaldo continued to smash records at an amazing pace. In Saturday’s 4-1 victory at CD Alaves (2-4-4), Ronaldo scored a hat trick which kept his club at the top of the La Liga standings. It was the Portuguese icon’s 38th career hat trick in all Spanish competitions (1 more than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi) and his 31st in La Liga (5 more than anyone else). I certainly cannot make you like Ronaldo personally but at least talent-wise, you have to respect a guy that will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest soccer players in history.
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Green Scores His 1st Career Goal for Bayern Munich’s Senior Squad
Another one of the key pieces of the U.S. men’s national team’s satisfying present and hopefully better future achieved a huge personal milestone in his professional career last week: Bayern Munich midfielder Julian Green notched his first goal in their 3-1 DFB Cup victory on Wednesday vs. FC Augsburg. The 21-year-old Green started at forward for the German powerhouse and his goal in the 41st minute made it 2-0 for the hosts. He played nearly the entire match before he was subbed out in the 89th minute. Since his 2014 debut with the USMNT, he has scored three goals in eight appearances and besides Christian Pulisic, he remains their most promising prospect.
In the 1st Leg of 2016 MLS Semifinals, Every Home Team Wins
Home field is important in soccer as the MLS semifinals proved once again on Sunday: Toronto beat NY Red Bulls 1-0, Toronto topped NYCFC 2-0, LA blanked Colorado 1-0 and Seattle blew out Dallas 3-0. The second legs shift to the other team’s home fields which means that the Red Bulls and Colorado are still in decent position to reach the Eastern Conference and Western Conference championship respectively. Clearly, NYCFC is in bad shape and Dallas (who had the best record in the seemingly meaningless MLS regular season) is done, they’re not rallying next Sunday. Looking ahead to the MLS Cup, seeing a Canadian club in it for the first time would be good for the league while it looks like one of its most decorated teams (either Los Angeles or Seattle) will be back there once again.
Follow Metro Boston soccer writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate