It is an open secret that the relationship between Welsh midfielder Gareth Bale and Real Madrid is not ideal. The player still counts as an outsider six years after signing with the Madrid club, and his attitude and commitment – or better said the lack of it – have attracted a lot of criticism toward the player. His latest stunt – flying a flag that read “Wales, Golf, Madrid, in that order” after the team’s victory over Hungary, added fuel to the fire. The flag can easily be considered an act of open defiance, pointing a finger on the complicated relationship between the player and the team.
He could be a hero…
If we consider his actions on the turf, Gareth Bale has ticked every box to become Real’s hero – and a fan favourite. While his injuries didn’t allow him to constantly give his best to the team, his over 230 matches, 100+ goals, and more than 60 assists are still a very impressive performance. Since he joined Real Madrid in 2013, he won everything worth winning with the team, ranging from Champions League trophies to Club World Cup medals. When he stepped in the playfield, everyone from veterans to new recommended bookmakers could confidently bend the odds in Real’s favour. Even though Cristiano Ronaldo was the de facto leader of the team, Bale contributed with important assists and goals to its success – including his legendary bicycle kick goal against Liverpool in last year’s UEFA Champions League final.
… but he chose to be a professional instead
It wasn’t enthusiasm that brought Bale to Real Madrid – it was the betterment of his career. He wanted to win trophies, and his chances of doing so were much better in Spain than in England. He left Tottenham in a then-world-record-breaking transfer, beating Ronaldo in this area. He played excellent football, he became an asset for the Spanish team, he won trophies – but he never became a true part of Real Madrid, remaining a dispassionate professional.
Would it be better for Bale to leave?
Earlier this year, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane told the press that it would be in the best interest of both the club and Bale to part their ways. This could be a problem, though, considering Bale’s salary expectations, age, and buyout clause. He has proven a valuable player for the club this year, even though he missed as many matches as he played (6). To add insult to injury, he didn’t play for Real since October when, playing for the Welsh national team, he suffered a calf injury that prevented him from training with Real’s first team – and he also said that he enjoys playing with the Welsh team much more. Apparently, he also enjoys playing golf much more than playing for Real Madrid.