Gareth Bale– Britain’s most expensive footballing export who has had a great six-year adventure with the Los Blancos, being the then most expensive Galactico, is now clearly unwanted by the manager as well as the club. His stint from being Tottenham’s fastest kid in the playground to winning coveted trophies wearing the No.11 white jersey doesn’t match the respect he has received at Bernabeu. To the outside world, the feud between a legendary player turned manager and a player who has scored decisive goals on football’s greatest platform looks bizarre.
“HOLA, es un sueno para mi jugar para Real Madrid. Gracias por la gran bienvenida. Hala Madrid” ( Hello, it’s a dream for me to play for Real Madrid. Thank you for the great welcome. Go Madrid). These were the exact words the Welshman said in Spanish when he was presented to the 20,000 fans awaiting him at Bernabeu. Real signed Bale in 2013 when they had a drought of European dominance as their last Champions League trophy was in 2002. The pace-throttler from Spurs came and changed the fortunes of Los Blancos, driving them to four European victories in six years, which includes a hat-trick streak. He’s been involved in all their major European and domestic success. Notably, Bale has one La Liga title, one Copa del Rey, as well as three Club World Cups, three Uefa Super Cups and a Spanish Super Cup along with four Champions League trophies to his name that involves in 30% of all of Real Madrid’s European Cup successes.
So how did it all go sour for a £650,000 per week earning footballer who still has three more years left according to his contract in Spain? Here is a look at Bale’s journey at Madrid, from his heroics to his downfall and the reason why ZiZu openly says- “If he can go tomorrow, it would be better”.
Man Who Has Proved His Mark At Big Stages
Anyone who has closely watched Gareth Bale while he played for Spurs before sealing a big-money move to the Bernabeu knew how effective he could be at Madrid alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. He has an impressive goal tally of 102 in 231 games providing 65 assists and has been a decisive man at big moments. He had a memorable first season for Real Madrid after his £85m move. The 7 touches, 70 yards run goal against Rayo Vallecano in 2014, to one of the greatest El Clasico goals, nudging the ball through Barcelona defender Marc Bartra in the Copa Del Ray Final in 2014 to his 110th min winner against Atletico to lift the ‘La Decima‘ (10th European Trophy), he couldn’t have had a perfect arrival at the Santiago.
The magical overhead kick in 2018 Champions League final at Kiev followed by a long-distance strike that helped Madrid seal their 13th Champions League title, gave hints to the world why Bale would be the next big thing for the champions. Perez congratulating Bale with a big hug and broad smile made it clear that Santiago would now look up to Bale as the successor of Ronaldo. His club stats are as competitive to legends like Raul, Fernando Morientes and Zidane himself. The Welshman has two goals less than Brazil hero Ronaldo and two more than Fernando Morientes. If one calculates the minutes per goal record Bale even outclasses Madrid legend, Raul. With similar assist levels and two folds of goals scored in comparison to Zidane he definitely doesn’t deserve a humiliating exit.
Aloofness and Jeering Fans
He is often dubbed as a loner by his teammates who have mentioned in their interviews that he is usually away from gelling up with the team and regularly dashes off to play golf after the training sessions. What makes it more difficult for the players, as well as the staff members to mingle, is his lack of interest to learn Spanish. It has been 6 years since he shifted his base to Spain and communication being the key to implementing successful teamwork, it doesn’t go hand in hand with Bale and the squad. Gesture talking and mime replies won’t build a connection and Bale hasn’t found a “friend” for this simple reason in his dugout.
With Zidane saying it out loud that “it’ll be best for everyone if Bale leaves” what he meant was for the fans. The crowd in Santiago will be the happiest if Bale finds a new club and departs soon. The wait at Bernabeau looks to finally pave the way and whitewash the footprints of the Welshman. Real Madrid fans are basically fickle-minded humans who have booed everyone, including their great- Cristiano Ronaldo at times when he has failed to deliver. Fans have turned on Bale from a long time now. The jeering started as early as just 5 months into the club and has continued anonymously every time he has brought off as a substitute from the bench. They look to follow the footprints of their President, Florentino Perez, who just wants the players at their peak and backstab them during their low’s. It runs in the blood you know!
Feud with ZZ and His High Wage
A Ballon d’Or winner turned manager who has achieved so much since he entered the club has always had a cold relation with Bale. They have achieved everything together but the bumps on the way have created an atmosphere of fundamental differences. During Zidane’s first tenure as the manager, he often suggested Perez to sell Bale. But his mind-boggling goal in the 2018 finals prompted Perez to stick with Bale, which eventually led to the departure of Zidane and Ronaldo as well. Bale must have thought he would have won the battle, but the Frenchman returned after Madrid’s worst season in 2019. Zidane has time and again made clear that Bale doesn’t fit in his plan and thus his last appearance for the club was in April. Since then he has either been kept on the bench or has been discarded from the squad. With Hazard coming in Zidane clearly doesn’t want Bale to stay anymore and is waiting to bid adieu.
Bale earns around £650,000-a-week at Real and thus Zidane wants the wage cut and invested somewhere potential. Real are now looking for a club that can afford Bale’s pay and match the existing contract. According to the media reports, Bale has also been very stringent over his talks with other clubs, refusing to negotiate.
What The Future Holds
It’s still not clear where he’ll be in the coming season but one thing Zidane has made clear that he no more wants Bale in Madrid. He is not counting upon him and the continuous exchange of comments between Zidane and Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett has turned the relationship bitter. Chinese clubs are pushing to acquire Bale with some tempting offers on the table that’ll cover the cost of his lucrative salary. Premier League giants like Manchester United, Tottenham have also shown interest but the hefty transfer amount is the only obstacle. Bale and his agent have been adamant that they will not agree for any makeshift deals. Let’s wait and watch which club can afford to finance a move for Bale.