Two of the most high-profile signings of last summer's transfer window square off in Sunday night's Clasico as Gareth Bale's Real Madrid take on Neymar's Barcelona in La Liga.

The Welshman has come into fine form following a difficult bedding-in period due to injury as Real Madrid have stormed to the top of the league.

For Neymar and Barcelona, 2014 has begun in more desperate fashion as the team have fallen behind their great rivals in league competition and seen the Brazilian sidelined through injury, while the legal saga surrounding his transfer rumbles on.

Everything is on the line on Sunday as Barca attempt to repeat their Clasico victory of the autumn in order to fight their way back into the title race.

Neymar had the better of things that day but Bale's form suggests he could be ready to play a key part in Spanish football's biggest fixture.

With so much at stake, we ask: who has proven the better signing? Goal's Jon Fisher and Peter Staunton go head-to-head over the issue …


It was always going to be a tough ask for Gareth Bale to justify his world-record transfer fee, not only to the Real Madrid fans but also the star-studded squad at the Bernabeu. Yet, to watch him tear apart the Schalke defence time and again on Tuesday night, supplying goals for Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata in a routine 3-1 victory, you could see he was winning the battle.

Not one for boastful proclamations, the unassuming Welshman has had to prove through his performances that Madrid were right to spend so much time, and budget, over the summer to bring him to Spain. Despite being troubled with a couple of niggling injuries, he has lived up to the hype generated from a couple of excellent seasons with Tottenham and is now starting to prosper. Either way you dress it up, he has been impressive.
Who has been the better signing - Gareth Bale or Neymar?
Statistically he outperforms Neymar in every category. Bale has 14 goals in 27 appearances, including four in seven in the Champions League. In comparison, Neymar has managed 10 goals in 28 games, and three in eight in Europe's elite club competition. Add in the 14 assists for Bale in all competitions versus 11 for Neymar and the picture is starting to become clear.

Barca fans will, of course, argue statistics can be misleading. Broadly speaking they'd be right, but not in this case. In terms of their general impact on their respective teams, there is no argument: Bale has been vastly superior.

While Neymar has struggled for fitness, consistency and a defined role in Barca's well-structured system, Bale has been one of Madrid's stand-out performers, helping them to the top of La Liga. His partnership with Ronaldo and Karim Benzema has given the team a new dimension and has arguably resulted in France international Benzema enjoying the most productive spell of his Madrid career.

It's not unfair to say Neymar's transfer to Barcelona caused a ripple effect which has resulted in off-the-field turmoil and the departure of president Sandro Rosell. And has he made the team better? With Bale, it's not even a question worth asking.

He's been worth every penny.