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Bale scores on debut as Real Madrid draw at Villarreal

updated 8:23 PM EDT, Sat September 14, 2013
Gareth Bale's celebrates in trademark style after scoring on his Real Madrid debut against Villarreal.
Gareth Bale's celebrates in trademark style after scoring on his Real Madrid debut against Villarreal.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gareth Bale scores on debut for new club Real Madrid in 2-2 draw with Villarreal
  • World's most expensive footballer scores in the 38th minute of debut
  • Barcelona keep 100% record in league with dramatic win over Sevilla
  • Joint leaders Atletico Madrid also maintain perfect start with 4-2 win against Almeria

(CNN) -- In his dreams it was probably a 30-yard screamer that ripped a hole in the roof of the net.

The reality, of course, was different as Gareth Bale, the world's most expensive footballer, bundled the ball home from six yards out.

It didn't matter. Bale may have made his name scoring spectacular individual goals for his previous club Tottenham Hotspur, but like all great players the 24-year-old has the knack of being in the right place at the right time.

Read more: Real Madrid fork out $132 million for Bale

His 38th minute goal against Villarreal -- stabbing in Daniel Carvajal's low cross -- came at just the right time for his new team. The Spanish giants were second best for much of the first half and were trailing after Cani's 19th minute strike gave the hosts a deserved lead.

Soccer player gets $132 million paycheck
Gareth Bale meets Real Madrid fans

Bale, who is still not fully fit after recovering from a groin injury, came out for the second half but only lasted 15 minutes -- his best effort a trademark long shot which flew narrowly over the crossbar.

Read more: Real Madrid unveil Gareth Bale at Bernabeu

Shortly after scampering down the right wing, ball at feet, Bale's debut was over as Carlo Ancelotti hauled off his most expensive asset. But he had already made his mark.

Cristiano Ronaldo gave Real the lead shortly after the Welshman departed -- his deflected shot finding the back of the net in the 64th minute before Giovani dos Santos equalized six minutes later. And that's how it stayed as both teams dropped their first points of the season.

Blog: Will Belgium win the World Cup?

The 2-2 draw leaves Real Madrid in fourth place, level on ten points with Villarreal who are third.

Earlier on Saturday, Barcelona maintained their 100% start to the new season, but only just, squeaking past Sevilla 3-2 at the Nou Camp.

Read more: Gareth Bale and the curse of the British abroad

Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez's dramatic injury time winner saw Barcelona claim three points after looking like they had thrown away two.

Dani Alves put the home side ahead with a 36th minute header and when Lionel Messi scored to make it 2-0 with 15 minutes to go all was going according to plan.

But when Ivan Rakitic scored for Sevilla in the 80th minute and Coke equalized in added time, Barcelona looked to have blown it.

Not for the first time, Messi showed his class when it mattered, engaging the brains and boots of several defenders before threading the ball back to Sanchez who stabbed the ball home.

Barca's fourth win of the season keeps them top of the table, level on points and goal difference with Atletico Madrid who completed a more comfortable 4-2 win over Almeria.

In Saturday's other La Liga fixture, Levante drew 0-0 with Real Sociedad.

Meanwhile in Serie A, Inter Milan and Juventus dropped their first points of the season after drawing 1-1.

The stalemate at the San Siro opened the door for Napoli to sit alone at the top of the table, at least for 24 hours, after they beat Atalanta 2-0 at the Stadio San Paolo. Fiorentina can join Rafa Benitez's side on nine points if they beat Cagliari on Sunday.

AC Milan have a 2-2 draw with Torino to add to the loss and win they opened the season with. Saturday's result leaves both teams with four points from three games.

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