You’d be forgiven for thinking Tuesday’s press conference at Valdebebas was about Gareth Bale rather than Real Madrid’s LaLiga clash with Leganés.
Zinedine Zidane posed a frustrated figure as question after question rained in on the future of Madrid’s Welsh star, who on the same day jetted to London to reportedly meet with his agent with the permission of the club.
Bale’s future has been in the air for a while, with a big-money move to China collapsing in the summer. This season looks almost certain to be the forward’s last in the Spanish capital, whatever happens between now and June.
Bale has been the subject of plenty of criticism of late. Mainly from the Spanish press, who home in on his lack of Spanish – at least in public – and his love of golf. While other players enjoy fast cars and parties, a love of golf should hardly be a huge cause for concern amongst the Madrid hierarchy.
The fans, too, have voiced their concerns at times, no doubt buoyed by those aforementioned press reports, and while the jet-heeled forward has been far from consistent of late, when the Welshman does finally leave the Bernabéu, he will leave with an impressive haul of titles and an equally-impressive haul of key goals in key moments. Bale should be part of the club’s hall of fame.
That is not to say he is done, not just yet. Madrid have it all to play for this season and they will need Bale if they are to add honours to their bulging trophy cabinet come the end of the season. Bale is key and in his final chapter at the club, he could yet leave on a high.
To do that, he needs to be left to his own devices. Bale is shy as a person and just wants to get on with his football without distractions. He’s done that already this season, without hitting his best form, and when his focus is full he provides a lethal weapon for Zidane and Madrid.
“Gareth and I are very similar. We are shy and sometimes we don’t talk much,” Modric told Club del Deportista.
“Gareth speaks and understands Spanish, and there is a good atmosphere and he gets along very well with his team-mates and is delighted to enjoy Madrid and the best club in the world.
“Of course, everyone enjoys their own way and you have to respect their way of being. He is exemplary with his behaviour. I get along very well with him.”
Bale will miss Wednesday’s match against Leganés as he continues his recovery from injury but could be welcomed back for this weekend’s match against Real Betis or the visit of Galatasaray next Wednesday.