FULL TIME: Villarreal 2-2 Real Madrid
And that's that! Both teams lose their 100% records, but everyone will be happy enough in their own way. Villarreal were the better side, Gareth Bale opened his goalscoring account with immediate effect - he's one ahead of Trevor Ford already - and Cristiano Ronaldo got one too, which will keep him onside while everyone purrs over the new boy. A good day all round. ¡Nighty night, everyone, nighty night!
90 min: There will be three added minutes of this. "Those half-time credits brought back the best World Cup game I've ever seen," begins Jim Greenan. "I had a summer job shifting furniture, and unfortunately had just got the leg of a Steinway piano stuck in a ventilation shaft when I clocked off early to catch this one, and don't regret the bollocking I got the next day. John Motson's commentary is as legendary as 62-year-old Dino Zoff's performance, Falcao's face after scoring, Junior's thighs, Socrates the doctor marked by Gentile the butcher, and the emergence of Paolo Rossi, who's mother hadn't even heard of him before the tournament. As a bonus, he really looks like Lee Harvey Oswald with a wig on." If only you'd written in half an hour earlier. I really need to know about this business with the Steinway. Were you wearing a long brown overcoat and a bowler hat at the time? Were you transporting the piano across town with an even more hapless colleague? And did you ever go on an adventure with a large sheet of glass? So much we'll never know.
89 min: Cani approaches the Real area with extreme prejudice. He should take a shot from the edge of the area, but hesitates, and slides the ball wide right to Uche, and the danger has passed.
88 min: Ronaldo, released into the area down the inside left by Morata, drags a dreadful shot across the face of goal. He was offside anyway. He's got the face on.
86 min: A period of Real Madrid possession, but it's all very sterile. Ronaldo loses patience, shoves his team-mates out of the way, and hammers a shot towards the top right. Asenjo is behind it to parry. The ball's shuttled back from the right wing to Ronaldo again. He has another dig. That one's wild, high and not so handsome.
84 min: Mario bombs down a wide avenue of defensive uselessness opened up by the Real Madrid Highways Agency. It allows him to win a corner down the right. Not much comes of it, but here's something for free: Real won't be winning any European Cups anytime soon with a defence as hapless as this.
81 min: Lopez is surely the man of the match for Madrid, despite Bale's romantic introduction into Spanish football. He's made several top-class saves, and here he is with another, an astonishing full-length stop from Pina, who from a position down the inside left had sent a rising heatseeker towards the top left. Real would have been on the end of a humiliation were it not for their keeper.
79 min: Di Maria goes over Musacchio's leg in the Villarreal area, but he's being a tad saucy and the referee's not having it.
78 min: Pina is booked for a late clip on Isco. All these bookings are making this game sound more bad-tempered than it actually has been. Although we could have seen the toys come out of the pram when Uche pulled the ball back from out of play on the right, had Villarreal scored. As it was, Perez screws a close-range shot wide left.
77 min: Morata, barely a couple of minutes on the pitch, is booked for a niggly foul on Aquino.
75 min: Giovani sends a daisycutter towards Lopez from a long way out, Pepe having gifted him possession, but the keeper is behind it all the way. It's pretty much the striker and goalscorer's last act of the evening; he's replaced by Perez. Both sides have now used up their full complement of substitutions, a point worth making as I might have forgotten to mention that Pina came on for Trigueros a few minutes back. So sue me! (Please don't sue me.)
74 min: Di Maria, just to the right of the D, attempts to send a curler into the top left. He's inches away. Asenjo might have had that covered, but only just about.
73 min: Benzema, who has been dismal this evening, is replaced by the young Spanish hope Morata.
70 min: GOAL!!! Villarreal 2-2 Real Madrid (Giovani)
Ah, who needs £70m and £80m players? Cani goes on a magnificent slalom down the inside left channel. Upon reaching the area, he cracks a shot which the excellent Lopez parries spectacularly. But the keeper's unfortunate: the ball breaks to the left, where Giovani is cutting in from the flank. Giovani hammers a low shot into the bottom right - the keeper gets a brave hand to it but can't stop the fierce effort - and the home side are deservedly level.
67 min: Di Maria fires the ball into the Villarreal area from the right, but Asenjo claims in a calm, assured fashion. I'm not quite sure how the home side are losing this. Your £70m and £80m players are just that little bit more clinical, I guess. For the want of a few extra quid...
64 min: Uche comes on for Pereira.
63 min: ANYTHING BALE CAN DO... Villarreal 1-2 Real Madrid (Ronaldo)
Ronaldo comes inside from the left. He slides the ball across to Benzema, who fires low and hard straight at Asenjo. The keeper parries. The ball breaks to Ronaldo, whose close-range shot takes a deflection off Musacchio as it whistles into the net, but you try taking his 203rd goal in 203 appearances away from him.
62 min: In a substitution which has nothing whatsoever to do with the previous entry, Bale is replaced by Di Maria. That's quite a debut for the most expensive footballer in the game's history. It's a double switch for Madrid, too, as Illarramendi makes way for Khedira.
60 min: Bale turns the burners on down the right. He bursts past Costa, nearly runs the ball out of play, but manages to pull it back to win a corner. It's at a little cost to his own health, as he clatters his knee as he tumbles off the pitch. He'll be OK, but you can bet the Madrid money mandarins were holding their breath there.
57 min: Ramos is booked for a late lunge on Aquino. He can have no argument.
56 min: Benzema squirts a dreadful shot wide left from the edge of the Villarreal area.
54 min: What a miss by Costa! Villarreal should be a goal up. Giovani sets Pereira clear in the area down the right with a gorgeous reverse pass. Pereira should shoot, but hesitates. No matter, he spins and fires a low pass into the middle for Costa, who is all alone, six yards out! Somehow he manages to screw a shot wide right of the target. Villarreal should be in the lead, but we've known that for some time.
53 min: Ramos very nearly plants his knees in poor Aquino's coupon. He's a right clumsy bugger sometimes, is Ramos.
51 min: After a half on the right, Bale's moved across to the left now. Ronaldo meanwhile is wandering around in the middle. Real are nothing if not fluid. Ronaldo then zips out to the left to race after a long ball down the flank. Musacchio comes across the front of him and falls over, buying a free kick. That's a fortunate decision for Villarreal, because Ronaldo was about to scoot clear down that wing and make good for the area.
48 min: Bale hits his first real shot in anger in La Liga. He's striding down the inside left, and he sends a powerful, rising, swerving effort just over the bar. That's a fair old pelt. And Asenjo might have got a slight fingertip to that, you know. Real want the corner, but they're not getting it.
47 min: Bruno dinks a ball down the right for Giovani, whose little clip into the centre hits the boot, then arm, of Nacho. You've seen penalties given for that, but not, let's be brutally honest, against the big teams. Corner, which is wasted.
And we're off again! Real get the ball rolling again with a long boot down the left. They will be hoping for more of this:
Half-time musical entertainment (with a Spanish touch, sort of)
Apologies for foisting Andrew Lloyd Webber on you, but these remain the best World Cup titles in the BBC's history. There's Enzo Bearzot's white sports jacket, if nothing else.
HALF TIME: Villarreal 1-1 Real Madrid
And that's that for the first half. How on earth are the hosts not leading by two or three goals? Well, a mixture of profligacy, bad luck and Gareth Bale, that's how. What a start for World Record Man, huh? He walks off the pitch doing his level best to look modest and not get carried away with himself, but you know he must be burning with pride.
45 min: Costa bombs down the left and cuts the ball back into the area. Pereira takes a swipe at the ball but his effort, flying towards the bottom right, is blocked by Pepe. A corner on the left, but nothing comes of it.
43 min: Bale twists and turns a bit as he approaches the Villarreal D. He nearly gets his shot away, with the entire ground bracing themselves for one of those Spurs Spectaculars, but he's hassled out of it at the last.
42 min: Bale into plenty of space down the right, but his cross is fairly aimless. The change in Madrid's mood since the goal is astonishing. Villarreal have every right to feel stunned and sick; they were leagues ahead of their guests until Bale turned up.
41 min: Gareth Bale: the bizarro Jonathan Woodgate.
38 min: GOAL!!! AND IT'S GARETH BALE!!! Villarreal 1-1 Gareth Bale
Modric slips Carvajal clear down the right. He reaches the byline, and fires a low ball into the centre. And who's this sliding into the centre? The £85m purchase, that's who. He gets ahead of the covering Mario to sidefoot the ball home, and he's up and running, as is that trademark heart celebration.
37 min: Nacho is booked for swiping Mario's legs away as the Villarreal defender ushers the ball out of play down the left. What a pointless booking.
35 min: Aquino is booked for a clumsy late slide on Nacho. Isco sends a diagonal free kick into the area from the left, in the general direction of Bale, but there's not enough juice on the delivery and it's never reaching its man.
33 min: For all Villarreal's dominance, they've only got the one goal to show for it. And the scores should be level now, because Ramos finds Ronaldo with a simple long rake down the middle. Ronaldo's clear, just inside the area, with only the keeper to beat. The best header of the ball in the world should be doing better than guiding the ball lamely wide left.
32 min: A corner for Real down the left. The ball's swung by Isco and met on the left-hand corner of the six-yard area by Ramos, whose powerful header on the run is parried by Asenjo and cleared.
31 min: Aqunio has a whack from nearly 30 yards. Saved with ease. He really shouldn't be trying to beat Lopez from that distance, out of respect for the keeper's earlier efforts, if nothing else, but I guess Real's otherwise risible defence is going to encourage opponents into stuff like this.
29 min: Real's defence is a sick joke. Pereira releases Aquino clear into the area down the right with a backheel which, while delicious, shouldn't fox all four defenders plus covering midfielders. Aquino shoots low and hard, but the exceptional Lopez smothers. Aquino has a second clatter from the rebound, but this one is sent squirming wide left by a stunning reaction hand from the keeper. That really should have been the second goal for the hosts. Without Lopez, Real would be 3-0 down.
27 min: Ramos tries a forward pass this time, but his long ball catches Ronaldo well offside. Ronaldo wears his sad and angry face, then his angry face. It's a powerful combo. Meanwhile, for those who consider badly typed words to be not enough, here's the new man in action ...
25 min: Real continue to stroke it around at the back, and nearly play a killer pass, albeit one that goes backwards and nearly plays in Pereira, lurking behind Ramos, the man at fault. Real are a shambles at the back.
24 min: Real are stroking it around a lot at the back, without going anywhere in particular.
21 min: GOAL!!! Villarreal 1-0 Real Madrid (Cani)
Pereira twists and turns down the inside right. He makes it into the area, drawing three white shirts, none of whom appear to have the first idea what they are doing. As they run around in baroque squiggles, the ball breaks into the centre, where Cani rushes in to batter home from the penalty spot. On balance, this is a deserved lead. Can the most expensive attack in the history of All Football respond?
19 min: A clever little touch from Bale, who helps the ball on down the inside-right channel to set Benzema away on a scamper. The move comes to naught, though, with Dorado across to snuff out the danger. "The picture at the top of the MBM in which Bale is clearly singing The Green Green Grass of Home tells me that he is already, like many a Welshman abroad, suffering from Tom Jones Syndrome," begins Simon McMahon, with what is in no way the most convoluted comic set-up of all time. "Is that common, I hear you ask? Well, it's not unusual." He's here all week, ladies and gentlemen. Try the cheese on toast.
18 min: A mix of the good and bad from Bale. He rises to win a ball that was sailing out of play on the right, setting Real on the attack from absolutely nothing. The ball's fed back to him, whereupon he blooters an awful cross out of play to the left of goal. Ronaldo would need to have been 25ft tall to get on the end of that, and even then would have to have timed his leap well.
16 min: A free kick for Real, 25 yards out on the left. The first chance to see who's No1 in the pecking order for set pieces. But you don't need telling, do you? Ronaldo steps up and hoicks a fairly dismal effort well wide right of the target.
14 min: All of a sudden, it's all Villarreal. They win a corner down the left. The ball's swung to the far post, where Pereira is all on his own, six yards out! Where the hell is the Real defence? This is amateur hour. Luckily for Real, Pereira panics a bit, slicing a shot towards the bottom right, allowing Lopez to come out and smother. Nobody will be hammering Ancelotti for picking this keeper if he keeps playing like this*.
[* But they might do that]
13 min: Benzema, gliding down the inside right, has a wild lash from distance. Nope! "Not Bale related, sorry," begins Matt Jarrett, needlessly apologising. Believe you me, Matt, if I knew more about Spanish football, I'd have written a 2,000-word intro on Villarreal before tacking on a token mention of Real's new signing at the end, just to be awkward. But, luckily for me getting some more work from the Guardian in the future and not being sacked in disgrace, I don't, and so I didn't. "I find it interesting that everyone (including senior players) hammered Jose for dropping Casillas, and yet Ancelotti is carrying on with the same keeper. Anyone hammering him about it yet?"
10 min: Bale's first meaningful touch of the ball, down the inside-right channel. He swings a cross to the far post in the general direction of Ronaldo, but the two most expensive players in the history of All Football can't link up right here, and the ball is eventually cleared.
8 min: The home side have been the better team so far. Isco is caught dawdling by Trigueros, who slides the ball down the right side, Bruno making good into the area. A low ball towards Giovani is intercepted by Carvajal, and cleared.
Bale touches the ball!
6 min: Yes, he really did do it! To the right of the centre circle, he guides a lovely little flick inside to Modric, and spins off in hope of a return that doesn't come. Instead, Villarreal intercept, and Pereira is soon skittering clear down the inside left and into the area. Sadly, his touch is clumsy and Lopez is able to smother at the near post. He really should have scored.
4 min: Bale is standing on the right touchline waving his hands around in disgust, Cani having bought himself a free kick with a graceful fall to ground. It's a slow immersion into La Liga football for Bale, like he's lowering himself into the bath after a very long walk.
3 min: 180 seconds in, and Bale is yet to kick it. What a waste of money! "Bale seems like a nice guy, he's a joy to watch, and he's lucky enough to be Welsh!" writes Matt Dony, who is presumably not from Macedonia or Scotland. "Still, there's a part of me almost kinda maybe hoping that he does a Woodgate. Purely for the astonishing entertainment levels." Indeed. Anyone wishing to remember the pure comedic brilliance of Britain's last big-money export to La Liga could do worse than clicking on this classic Joy of Six, by erstwhile Guardian genius Rob Smyth.
And we're off! Villarreal, in their trademark canary yellow strip, kick off. Real have got the white clobber on, as usual. Bale and Ronaldo made a big song and dance of high-fiving each other before kick off, by the way.
This is a top-of-the-table clash, as much as chat like that counts for anything at this early stage of the season. Both the Yellow Submarine and Los Merengues have 100% records after three games, and a win for either side tonight will send them joint top on points with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, who both have four wins from four. The latter just did their level best to put an end to their perfect start, mind, giving up a two-goal lead at home to Sevilla in the last ten minutes, before Alexis Sanchez scraped a goal in the third minute of injury time to spare themselves blushes, tears, and dressing-room recriminations.
BREAKING NEWS: Expensive footballer starts football match!
Villarreal: Asenjo, Mario, Musacchio, Dorado, Costa, Aquino, Trigueros, Bruno, Cani, Giovani, Pereira.
Subs: Carlos, Uche, Perez, Pina, Iniguez, Perbet, Gabriel.
Real Madrid: Diego López, Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Isco, Illarramendi,
Modric, Ronaldo, Benzema.
Subs: Casillas, Khedira, Casemiro, Jesé, Morata, Di María, Llorente.
Gareth Bale is not the first Welsh footballer to break the world transfer record. That honour goes to Trevor Ford, who moved from Aston Villa to Sunderland for £30,000 in October 1950. Ford's debut at Stamford Bridge wasn't much to write home about, but he didn't take much longer to make an impact. In his second game in red-and-white stripes, he scored a hat-trick against Sheffield Wednesday. While scoring one of his three, he broke the jaw of Wednesday keeper Dave McIntosh as he bundled him into the net. He also reportedly broke a post with another shot, which takes some doing, even with one of those old boulder-balls. He scored 67 goals in 108 league matches for Sunderland, which is not bad going at all. No pressure, then, Gareth.
Ford also had to put up with the antics of the maverick Len Shackleton, who wasn't best pleased at having his status as top dog at the club challenged. As a result, he would deliberately put too much spin on the ball whenever he passed to Ford, making it almost impossible to control, and ensuring the new lad looked rather stupid. Wily old Shack remained the crowd's favourite. Yes, you're already a step ahead of me, aren't you.
Kick off: 10pm local time, 9pm in the UK.