Why is Gareth Bale so much better for Wales than Real Madrid?

Wales, Gareth Bale (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Wales, Gareth Bale (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) /

He has not seen the field for Real Madrid under Carlo Ancelotti since February 15 in the Champions League when he made a three-minute cameo in the loss to Paris-Saint Germain. Yet somehow, Gareth Bale is walking into the Welsh national team and scoring a free-kick from 30 yards out in World Cup Qualifying?

How can this be?

How is the persona non grata of the Spanish media so efficient, influential, and consistent with Wales while he fails to get a sniff of the pitch with his club?

Gareth Bale is a unique personality among many at Real Madrid. But often, that personality is deemed inadequate by the media, who lambast the forward at seemingly every turn.

He has been in Madrid for nearly a decade and has featured in 256 matches while winning 11 trophies. But all his goals, assists, and dedication to the club seems long forgotten.

And the relationship that helped to convince Bale to leave Tottenham Hotspur in favor of a record-breaking deal with Real Madrid seems more like a fable than history. The relationship between Bale, the fans, and most importantly – the Spanish media – seems broken to the point of no return.

And though Bale can score world-class goals and lead the Welsh national team in World Cup Qualifying while sporting the captain’s armband, Ancelotti would rather play Rodrygo Goes and Marco Asensio over a player that helped the manager and the club win La Decima eight years ago.

It seems irrational and confusing to not even select a player of Bale’s quality for the bench in some of these big matches. Yet, as we have seen before, the Carlo Ancelotti grudge is tough to break.

Gareth Bale plays much better for Wales because he is appreciated and treated accordingly. At Real Madrid, he is almost hated.

His Welsh teammates, the coaches, and the fans treat Bale like he should be treated: as a star and a leader. He has the resume and the accolades to be treated as such. When he puts on that Welsh red and that captain’s armband, he plays like the prime Bale we Madridistas came to love during the Champions League three-peat.

Leading from the front, creating for his teammates, and critically, bagging crucial goals in crucial matches

At Real Madrid, he is viewed as a villain, a player needing to prove himself for the one-millionth time in nine years. Look to El Clasico for further proof of just that.  In a match where Los Blancos were missing leading goalscorer Karim Benzema, Bale failed to make the matchday squad.

Just four days after the Clasico, Bale was 100 percent fit while away on international duty and looked in better form than most of the options Ancelotti has deployed to play on the right flank in recent weeks.

I have to be that guy and wonder aloud, ‘what would Zinedine Zidane do with Gareth Bale in a situation like this?’ Bale just scored a free-kick and a stunning second goal against Austria to lead Wales to the final of World Cup Qualifying, yet I already know once he arrives back in Spain, he will again disappear in the nethers of the squad.

When you need a playmaker and a finisher, Bale is damn near as good as it gets. Wales uses that to their advantage, and it pays off for them over and over. Yet, Real Madrid seems to blissfully ignore Gareth’s form and individual performances while he trains for no other purpose than to stay in shape.

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We can blame the media for compounding the issue with Gareth Bale in the Spanish capital, but it seems that the off-field harassment and criticism from both the media and fans have damaged his psyche with the club beyond repair.

It’s a shame a historic career at Real Madrid has to end like this for a player who has done so much for the badge.