The situation of Gareth Bale with Madrid is reminiscent of Groundhog Day: the Welsh for another season became a headache for Zinedine Zidane and a budget hole for the Madrid club. Bale can be compared to a Ferrari parked in the garage – he is the team’s highest-paid player since his salary is almost 15 million euros per year.
However, Bale’s conflict is not new to Real. Except for Zidane’s first year at Madrid, all other seasons have always developed for Bale in the same scenario: a promising start, injuries, chaos and conflict with the coach.
The first season of Zinedine Zidane
The first days of Zidane’s work with Bale seemed to be the beginning of a good relationship between them: the French specialist came to save the lacklustre Madrid in January 2016 after the dismissal of Rafael Benitez. Bale at that time was in great shape and was committed to his work – in the first two matches under Zidane’s leadership, the Welsh scored four goals (including a hat-trick against Deportivo) and provided one assist. However, already during the second match, against Sporting, Bale got a foot injury and missed seven matches. However, the player managed to return to the optimal level, scoring six goals in 14 matches. Besides, Bale spoke well of the head coach and wanted Zidane to remain in Madrid for a long time.
Once again do not forget who we are talking about – Bale who was in 2013 a record signing. He shone in the Premier League and was considered the leader of the Wales national team. Bale is a hero in his native country, and his popularity has reached incredible heights. Even at that period, Bale created an unbelievable precedent in the gambling industry, where local providers’ newly available casino games started to feature Bale as an icon. It was very interesting to see because not a lot of players could be credited with the opportunity to “access the entry” in the gambling industry.
Bale said above mentioned words about Zidane on April 9, 2016, but a week later there was the first misunderstanding between him and Zidane: Bale ended the match against Getafe, having muscular discomfort, which was why he was given a rest day, but this did not stop him from going in Cadiz to the Spanish Open Golf Championship and take part in it. This fact first surprised and then upset Zidane when he found out that due to health problems, the Welshman would miss La Liga’s vital match against Villarreal. Despite this, the coach continued to trust Bale, who ended the season by playing in the starting lineup – he played 120 minutes in the final of La Undecima against Atlético.
Before the start of the 2017/18 season, Gareth Bale became the main character of the summer transfer window: Jose Mourinho, who was then head coach of Manchester United, tried to lure the Welshman into his club all summer.
However, the Welshman chose to stay in Madrid, and the season turned out to be almost an exact copy of the previous one for him – he again began to play at a high level (three goals and four assists in eight matches) and then began to decline again. Bale was once again bothered by problems with the soleus muscle, after which he again had a relapse of the injury, because of which he had to miss 14 matches.
In the first match of the Champions League 1/8 finals against PSG, relations between Zidane and Bale completely deteriorated: the French specialist left the Welshman in reserve, although at that time it was the most important match of the season. Such actions by the head coach irritated a player whose indifference was not ignored: during the match, cameras captured Bale yawning on the bench, after which he was in no hurry to change clothes to enter the field.
Since then, the Welshman began to demonstrate alienation from the team: during the first half of the match against Leganes, he went into the locker room from the bench; in a match against Juventus, he reacted very mediocre to the first goal of Cristiano Ronaldo.
In the next match, against Malaga, Bale did not get into the application, then he came out only as a substitute in the game against Bilbao. Thus, the Welshman turned into a reserve player, but in the Champions League final against Liverpool, he again reminded himself, scoring two goals, one of which probably one of the best goals in the history of the tournament.
Row with Zidane
During the last pre-season training camp, Zidane hoped for the Welshman to leave the team, but in the end, the head coach had to come to terms and give the player another chance. In the first three rounds, Bale gave up one assist in a victory match against Celta (3-1) and saved Madrid by scoring two goals against Villarreal (2-2), but then things started to unfold according to everyone familiar scenario: injuries, chaos and bench. Gradually, what seemed to be a resolving problem took an unexpected turn – Bale was irritated by the fact that Zidane decided to give him rest without including in the lineup for the first match of Madrid in the Champions League group stage against Brugge. Bale was late for the stadium.
In October, Bale went to the location of his national team and returned from there injured. For this reason, he did not play for a month, but then again went to the Wales team. It was at this time, after his team selected for the final part of Euro 2020, a new scandal erupted: Bale went out to celebrate the success of his team with a poster on which the following words were written:
“Wales. Golf. Madrid.”
This behaviour did not go unnoticed among Madrid: upon returning to the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid fans booed Gareth Bale.
Gareth is still a Real’s player. At first, he did not go to the Spanish Super Cup with the team because of the flu, then he suffered an ankle injury, and again in the final part of the season turned into a reserve player. Zidane does not count on Bale – he did not let the Welshman play in the last Clasico, and in the match against Manchester City, he provided only 15 minutes. Also, the head coach of Madrid does not see a player in Gareth who can change the course of the game – in the match against Betis (1-2) Bale was not even sent to warm up. And now Gareth Bale can again be put up for transfer, although events can turn out in his favour.