Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale
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Gareth Frank Bale

Current Club: Real Madrid.

Previous Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton.

Loan Clubs: N/A.

International: Wales 79 caps 32 goals.

Trophies Won: UEFA Champions League 2013/14, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18. La Liga 2016/17. Premier League Player of the Year 2012/13. English League Cup 2008. Welsh Footballer of the Year 2010, 2011. UEFA Supercup 2014/15, 2016/17, 2017/18. Club World Cup 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018. Spanish Cup 2013/14. Spanish Super Cup 2017/18.

"Joined Real on the back of a few excellent seasons, but looks less and less effective every season since. Is it a case of wrong club, injuries, or bad attitude? Plus, why has he stayed for so long when he looks so unhappy there?" - Danny Pughnited

To answer the question fully, you have to look back over his whole career. He was nearly cut from Southampton's youth team for being too small, only just keeping a place. Then he got a move to Spurs, where again he nearly failed, as he was struggling at left-back.

Harry Redknapp was on the verge of farming him out on loan when an injury crisis forced him to try Bale at left wing. There he was a revelation and soon made himself a hero for club and country, with Manchester City even making a huge bid for him at one point, which he turned down.

But when Real Madrid came in for him, the move Bale had always wanted, he jumped at the chance to make a world record move and play alongside Ronaldo. Initially while there he would watch and copy what Ronaldo did, the extra hours on the training ground practising free kicks, working hard to establish himself.

The problems came when Bale felt that he had established himself, he has not just slacked off the effort in training, but also had a full 18-hole golf course built in his back garden, which he plays on pretty much a daily basis. Not an issue on its own, but it is an issue when Bale is aggravating injuries by refusing to take a break from the golf.

Added to that, the injuries, which initially were just caused by his explosiveness, have become more and more prevalent, in part due to the golfing, in part due to his lack of desire to turn out for Madrid, as the same injuries rarely stop him pulling on a Wales jersey. As for why he has stayed so long, simple answer is the lifestyle and the money. There are very few places that will pay him £500,000 a week and even less that will allow him to live in the same comfort as he currently enjoys.

At his best, Bale was a blisteringly quick winger, with exceptional technique and good skill, though not the mazy dribbling type of winger, he was a power and pace type. He would track back, working in tandem with the left back to overwhelm teams, while ensuring there was very little chance of teams breaking in behind.

Unfortunately, Bale has become lazy, he no longer tracks back, he would say to save his legs for the attacking third. However he has not enamoured himself of Zinedine Zidane with his attitude, he wants his players to work harder and expects them to make an effort to stay fit for the team and take the advice of the medical staff, so he can be available for selection (or preferably sale).

Injuries have robbed Bale of the ability to run all game, some of his pace and that has massively lessened his effectiveness to the side. The technique is still there, the ability to strike the ball and score, but he no longer has that ability to burst from deep in his own half and run non-stop until getting in for a goal.

Now he has to be more careful with his runs and save himself to be a box office predator, something he does very well but in the modern game it is not as easy for top teams to carry a player. I am not sure Bale has it in him any longer to be the difference maker, he does not have the desire to work on his game when the golf course beckons instead.

Requested by - Danny Pughnited


Written by Ed001 November 29 2019 08:52:35