The Gareth Bale situation is an interesting one because it betrays a side to Madrid which fans do not like to admit – the club can be disrespectful to players who have served them well.
Since joining the club in 2013, the Welshman has contributed 104 goals in 234 games for the club in a period of domestic and European dominance, including goals in major finals. Yet, current manager Zinedine Zidane in his first spell at the club ostracized the player and reportedly left the club in his first spell after he requested that the board get rid of Bale and didn’t get his way. This led to several speculations in the 2018/19 season but Bale scaled through the season, even with Zidane returning midway to salvage the season for Madrid.
He didn’t drop the case throughout the summer which caused a lot of ruckus in the media and almost led to the Welshman exiting the club, as the club received a very lucrative offer from China-based club Jiangsu Suning. With all parties agreeing to the deal and Bale’s bags packed, it seemed like they both would be free of each other, with Zidane even claiming that it would be “best for everyone” if Bale left the Bernabeu until club president Florentino Perez pulled the plug on the deal.
Following impressive showings in pre-season and in the first two matches, however (pre-season goal involvements; two goals and one assist in the league), Zidane has insisted that Gareth Bale still has a part to play at Real Madrid, claiming that the player’s commitment is what changed and nothing more.
The Bale situation may even become worse when Hazard recovers.
Real Madrid paid big money for Eden Hazard who joined from Chelsea, a signing which Zidane had been after for a long time. However, before the start of the season, Madrid was dealt a blow when he was ruled out for several weeks with a thigh injury.
In pre-season before Hazard’s injury, he covered the right-wing which is where Bale operates from. With Zidane favouring Hazard and just giving Bale a run in the team due to his first choice for the position on the sidelines, this could just be the calm before the storm.
HOW BALE AND HAZARD CAN WORK IN MADRID
Hazard is a versatile player in attack who can and has been deployed in several positions. However, Bale is a positional right-winger who can cut inside or stick to the wings. This offers Zidane a lot of options in attack.
He can set Bale down the right-wing and have Hazard come from the right in a 4-3-3, or centrally while having players like Isco, James, Rodrygo or Vinicius cover the right in a 4-2-3-1. However, following events in the past, there is no guaranteeing Bale’s place in the squad with Zidane.
Bale, however, now wants to prove himself as a leader to the Real Madrid fans and he is more motivated than ever to continue his success in Spain. Zidane will have to put aside whatever animosity he has with the Welshman, who has never been an average player for Los Blancos.