Ever since he stepped foot at Real Madrid, Gareth Bale was treated like an outsider by the Spanish media. No matter how many goals he scored, how many highlights he created, and, most importantly, how many trophies he won, Bale was seen as an enemy by the press, who tried to find ways to villainize the most expensive transfer in Madrid history.
Cristiano Ronaldo protected Bale from the media by urging them to leave him alone. He assured everyone that Bale just needed time and space; he would come good. And to nobody’s surprise, CR7 was correct.
After Ronaldo left for Juventus, the media saw this as an opening to make Bale the prime target of their attacks. Without Ronaldo to help protect him, everything involving Bale became a saga. He does not even care about Real Madrid. He is just here to get a paycheck. He disrespects Zinedine Zidane. It was a barrage of half-truths and some of the lowest journalism.
Though Carlo Ancelotti did an excellent job of quieting the rocky relationship, the media still found ways to go after Bale. Why wasn’t he in El Clasico? Is he really injured? Why didn’t he celebrate with the team?
There were disrespectful articles, exaggerated claims, and more disgraceful journalism from the press. It was all done to stir the pot at the expense of a player who has done more for the city of Madrid than any of these people. He donated almost one million pounds during the pandemic. He chose Madrid over all the clubs and brought them La Decima after his arrival. Then a three-peat. What were they doing? Hating from the sidelines.
And all of it in such a disingenuous, disgusting way. We live in the era of information overload in football. People spouting garbage, and very few willing to tell the truth and break things down in the simplest element.
I will do that for you. Do you know why Bale did not play at the end of the season? Do you know why he did not risk injuries for a meaningless game or for celebrating a league title that was already guaranteed?
Gareth Bale needed to be fully healthy to lead Wales to the World Cup
Because all of this stuff was not important for Real Madrid. They did not need Bale. They won the league and the Champions League without him.
He knew this.
But you know who needs him? You know who he needed to make sure he was 100 percent healthy for and could not let down, or else the results would have been catastrophic?
The team he captains.
If Bale cares more about Wales than Real Madrid, it does not mean he does not care about Madrid. Who can blame the national team captain and the best player in his country’s history for caring more about them? Who can blame him for taking on that responsibility?
Wales qualified for the World Cup this season, winning because of Bale. He had the two-goal masterclass in the playoff against Austria. He created the goal in the playoff final against Ukraine to ultimately qualify Wales.
Bale is 32 years old. This is going to be his last World Cup. Wales would not have made it without him. Knowing his injury history, he could not risk ANYTHING. He had to be at his 100 percent, otherwise Wales would not have made it. And there would have gone both his and his country’s World Cup dreams.
This narrative gets lost. It is easy to hate on Bale and say he is disrespectful. But it is even more disrespectful to ignore this obvious backstory or to minimize what Bale means to his national team. Why? Because he is not Spanish. Remember, this group of journalists will give Marco Asensio a pass for basically saying he does not want to fight for his spot and should be handed opportunities.
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Bale is owed an apology. Not that he needs it from this group of dishonest people. They are truly the ones who do not care about Real Madrid. Because it is they who will disparage the names of the club’s legends for their own personal agenda. They will sell out the club for an extra buck. Meanwhile, Bale knows his role, knows his limitations, and knows his heightened importance to Wales. He already led Madrid to glory many times, only to receive no thanks from the fickle-minded media.