Disappointing Season Could Spell The End
Real Madrid could part company with Gareth Bale this summer with Eden Hazard or Christian Eriksen set to replace him at the Bernabeu.
The influential Spanish newspaper Marca claims Bale’s time in Madrid is coming to an end. The paper says he hasn’t made the step-up required of him following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure for Juventus last summer.
Bale had a spell out with injury earlier this season, but since his return on 27 January he has started just twice – in the La Liga game with Alaves and the Champions League clash with Ajax.
Coach Santi Solari has preferred the 18-year-old Brazilian Vincius Junior to Bale who was bought in 2013 as the long-term replacement for Ronaldo.
The Wales international considered leaving himself last summer, but Ronaldo’s departure changed his mind for him. It gave him the chance to become the main man at Madrid after spending five seasons in the shadow of the Portugal international. But his six La Liga goals so far this season have come at an average of one for every 207 minutes on the pitch. That compares with the 112 minutes it took him to score each of his 16 league goals last season. His 12 goals in 30 matches in all competitions is well short of expectations for this campaign.
Bale’s age and his wages will act as a barrier to any club that wants to sign him. He turns 30 in July and earns around £350,000 a week.
Manchester United have been linked over the past two summers but they may baulk at making any move once Bale hits 30. Tottenham Hotspur can match any bid received by Madrid under the terms of his 2013 transfer – but the financial restraints caused by the construction of their new stadium makes any move back to north London unlikely. A straight swap for Christian Eriksen might go some way to changing their mind, but that would require Bale giving up the bulk of his wages.
Meanwhile, Marca has made a damning critique of Bale’s time in Spain. While he has performed well in the big finals – the Champions League in particular – it says his injuries, his failure to acclimatise to life in Spain – he still doesn’t speak the language – and his inability to carry the team mean he has never been the player Real Madrid expected.