Gareth Bale lobbying for a transfer proves he never had the mentality to be a star for Real Madrid, even if he had the talent.
Gareth Bale was the world’s most expensive player when he joined Real Madrid in 2013. The Welshman has won the Champions League four times, La Liga twice, and one Copa del Rey trophy during his seven years in the Spanish capital.
So everybody is happy, right? Wrong. Bale wants out.
The 31-year-old spoke to Sky Sports (h/t BBC Sport) on Wednesday and tried talking his way into a transfer:
I want to play football. I’m still motivated to play football. I’m 31 but I’m in great shape still and I feel I’ve got a lot to give.
Bale was more revealing in the full interview about his attempts to find a new home last summer:
His situation, at least on the surface, justifies Bale lobbying to leave. He’s become an outcast in Madrid, where manager Zinedine Zidane has been reluctant to trust the talented but brittle forward.
Yet, Bale’s words shouldn’t engender sympathy. Instead, they merely prove why he’s never had the mentality to become a true great at Europe’s most successful club.
He cost €100 million when he moved from Tottenham Hotspur, but Bale has lacked the swagger to match his price tag. He went into a Real squad already led by Cristiano Ronaldo, a swagger king who refuses to be upstaged by any teammate.
Even so, Bale should have been Ronaldo’s heir apparent. He had the same attributes—namely, lightning pace, deadly finishing, and aerial power from wide areas.
Gareth Bale always stayed in Ronaldo’s shadow, often producing his best games when CR7 was injured. Bale’s sensational solo goal against Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey final even got a watching Ronaldo out of his seat in joy.
There were other moments of brilliance, too, such as scoring in Champions League finals in 2014 and ’18. Check out some of his top moments below:
His two-goal heroics should have been Bale’s moment to make the team his own. Ronaldo left for Juventus that summer, giving Bale the ideal moment to become the main man.
Zidane and Co. are still waiting.
Bale hasn’t delivered as much as he promised in a Real shirt. Injuries and a failure to convince Zidane of his worth have mostly defined his spell in Spain.
Zidane was bullish about wanting Bale to leave during the summer of 2019. Bale stayed, but he didn’t make any new allies when he unveiled a slogan reading “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order,” during international duty.
The ill-conceived banter only added to the feeling Bale’s heart isn’t in making it at Madrid. La Liga writer Sid Lowe questioned Bale’s motivation during an appearance on ESPN FC:
Bale is wasting a golden opportunity because he’s content to coast along. He only has a few years left to enjoy the prime of his physical talents.
Stardom in Madrid isn’t something Zidane should have to sell to Bale. It’s something Bale should be seizing with ruthless determination.
Ronaldo wasn’t shy about wanting the same thing, even when he was a champion for Manchester United. Success with Madrid is different than success anywhere else for genuine stars. Ronaldo knew it, and so did Zidane.
Bale looks like he’ll never understand.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
Last modified: September 23, 2020 2:28 PM