Real Madrid are probably the only club who would be so keen to get rid of a player who has scored goals to help his team win two Champions League finals. In six years in Spain, Bale has made 231 appearances, scored 102 goals and has 65 assists, which is a better return than Zinedine Zidane when he played at the club. He’s also won 13 trophies, compared to Zidane’s six, yet there has been the feeling for some time, from both the dressing room and the stands, that Bale is unwanted at the Bernabeu.
While Bale has learnt to speak some Spanish, ever evidenced by an interview he gave two years ago, he chooses to communicate in English to his teammates and the press, which probably hasn’t helped his integration.
Thibaut Courtois has also publicly criticised the Welshman, with them adopting the nickname ‘the golfer’ for him, given he prefers to play golf than socialise with his teammates.
“I live like somebody who is born and bred in Madrid. I eat late, I go bed late… it is their way of life,” Courtois said. “The other night we had a dinner with the entire squad. But Bale and Kroos did not turn up. They reckoned the dinner was too late at night. We had arranged to be in the restaurant at 9.30pm and we started out meal around 10.15pm and by midnight we were having coffee. We go to bed at around 1am. We have to train every morning at 11am. I think that is a perfect time. But Bale had told us ‘I am not coming to join you, guys. I go to bed at 11’.”
The most stinging criticism that Bale has received has come from manager Zidane, who returned to the club last season and has seemingly never been a fan of the Welsh forward.
Following Real Madrid’s defeat against Bayern Munich this weekend, Zidane spoke of his eagerness for Bale to leave the club.
“We hope he leaves soon,” he said. “It would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team. I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done.”
Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett quickly responded with comments made to AFP, saying “Zidane is a disgrace – he shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid.”
While Real Madrid want to get rid, Bale seemingly has no intention of leaving, and when you see how much he’s earning, it’s easy to understand why.
The Welshman is Real’s top earner, taking home £11.8m a year, or £227k-a-week. Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Toni Kross are the next highest earners, all on on £162k-a-week.
After the final game of last season, Bale headed straight for the dressing room instead of joining his teammates on the pitch to thank the fans. When asked by Radioestadio afterwards what his future plans were, Bale claimed he had every intention of playing out his contract in Madrid.
“I’ve got three years left on my contract,” he said. “If they want me to go, they’ll need to pay me €17m per season. If not, I’ll stay here. And if I have to play golf, I will.”
Bale has been linked with a move to United since the summer of 2013 when he signed for Real Madrid, with David Moyes later revealing that we had offered him more money and had a helicopter waiting. Bale was just 24 then and would have been a great signing. But six years later, now 30 and haven’t suffered with a long line of injuries, it’s hard to see how United could justify paying the fee and salary that would be demanded by Real Madrid and Bale.