Madrid-based journalist, Euan McTear has given an interview to Football.London explaining the main reasons behind why Gareth Bale’s relationship with Real Madrid soured over the last few years.
The Welshman admitted upon signing for Spurs on loan that he was delighted to be back at a place where he is loved and was hoping to rediscover his best form (BT Sport).
Some might view that as a dig at his parent-club, where his relationship with the fans was far from ideal towards the end.
McTear claimed that the 31-year-old’s injury issues were the main reasons behind why Los Blancos fans became frustrated with him.
He insisted that, if not for Bale’s injuries, the other issues about his golf and his language skills would not have received as much scrutiny.
He told Football.London: “I think there are many reasons if you had to explain what went wrong, but I think number one are the injuries.
“You can debate over which transfer was more as it was similar with him and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the official numbers were that his transfer cost a little bit more.
“Cristiano Ronaldo was never injured, he was there every game, never suspended, always available and would score X amount of goals every month.
“Bale started to pick up these injuries and was missing and that’s what grew to the frustration. When you spend that much money on a player, the fans get restless when it’s a little injury here and a little one there.
“We’re seeing a very, very similar thing with the restlessness now with Eden Hazard and it looks like he could become the next sort of Bale.
“I think it was the injuries that started to frustrate people and people didn’t hold that against him as they knew he was genuinely injured, but it was frustrating to have a key player out.
“Then people started to look for other things they could target him with like the not speaking Spanish, the attitude towards the rest of team and players, like the attitude to the media and playing golf.
“I don’t think people would have looked at his language skills and hobbies if it wasn’t for the injuries. I think that was the thing that started to frustrate people as they were just annoyed that he wasn’t available.”
McTear also insisted that problems between the winger and Zinedine Zidane were overblown by the media, claiming that the two did not get along particularly well because they were different characters, with different approaches to football.
The journalist added: “I think it has been a little bit overblown his relationship with Zidane. Either time one has talked about that relationship they’ve had good things to say.
“It has been Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, who has been the one to criticise Zidane and a lot of the time I don’t think it’s necessarily repeating what he’s heard from Bale.
“I think he’s a kind of person who goes off on his own and gives his own verdict whether or not that’s shared by Bale.
“The differences are that they are very different kinds of people. Both superstars, both at Real Madrid, both have scored Champions League wonder goals and things like that. Similar in some senses but very different kinds of people off the pitch.
“Zidane loves football. You hear him talking about it and the other day he said he watched so many of the matches during the international break. Bale basically has admitted that he doesn’t really watch football apart from when he is playing it.
“Zidane loves football, loves Real Madrid, he’s not a one-club man of course, but Zidane’s only club since he joined them in 2001 has been Real Madrid.
“Bale didn’t quite feel that connection. Then there is the language thing as well as Zidane doesn’t really speak English and Bale doesn’t really speak Spanish. It’s hard to really kind of develop a relationship there. They can communicate in football terms. They obviously weren’t having long heartfelt conversations
“They were different kinds of people. I don’t think they were best friends but I don’t think it’s true that they were enemies either as that’s overblown and maybe unhelpfully so by Bale’s agent.”
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