Gareth Bale has always been in a strange situation at Real Madrid. His contributions on the pitch have always been important. But whatever happens off-the-field has always been a reason for big concern.
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett has never helped the situation. He once called Zinedine Zidane a ‘disgrace‘ earlier this summer. Real’s inability to sell Bale was reportedly one big reason for why Zidane had left the club in the summer of 2018.
Bale was close to leaving Real for China this past summer, with Zidane claiming that he wouldn’t be too bothered if the Welshman ‘left tomorrow‘. But the rumours about China have now cropped up again. Marca state that he could now seek a January exit.
So far this season, Bale has done well for the Los Blancos. He has played six times in the La Liga, scoring twice and assisting twice. Because of that, he’s the club’s second-highest scorer and the second-highest assister. That isn’t bad for a player who was disregarded by the club not too long ago.
His performance against Celta Vigo in the opening game of the season saw Casemiro and Thibaut Courtois laud the Welshman.
The Brazilian (via Marca) said:
“He [Bale] has given us titles, he’s scored in finals and he has a lot of respect from us all. He has to play. He’s a great player and is very important for us.”
Courtois, on the other hand, said:
“He is an important player and played a great match. Everyone loves him and it is important that he plays for us. We are so happy with Bale.”
This can be taken however anyone wants. What the club’s intentions are is anybody’s guess. But Bale’s move to China fell through after Marco Asensio suffered a serious knee injury that is likely to keep him out for the whole season. Due to a lack of back-ups for the Spaniard, Bale had to stay.
If Asensio had not sustained the injury, Bale could well have been sold. The attitude they showed towards him was negative and it was a case of everyone being unhappy. It is not a surprise that Bale could be looking to leave in January.
It is certainly rare to see Bale get open support of players. Courtois himself once openly criticised Bale for failing to bed into the culture at Madrid.
He told Belgian newspaper HLN (Via Talksport):
“I’d say he has so much talent, but that it is such a shame that so often that talent is blocked from shining. I live like somebody who is born and bred in Madrid. I eat late, I go bed late… it is their way of life.”
Bale has clearly had issues getting to know the culture of the country, despite being there since 2013- when he joined from Tottenham. That isn’t a good sign. Marcelo has also criticised Bale for not being able to learn Spanish for so long.
But it always comes down to how good a player he is. He scored twice in the Champions League final of 2018 and has won four titles already. For Real, he has appeared 238 times in all competitions, scoring as many as 104 times and assisting 67 times.
His abilities can’t be questioned but it seems like a case of temporarily keeping him at the club. Once Asensio is fit and Bale get a potential replacement, there seems no doubt that he will leave. He has still faced issues in settling in and the failed move to China suggests he has an interest in leaving.
It seems like a case of providing love, for the time being. By the time he is of use, he will be let off soon.