How Wales can help Gareth Bale become a Real Madrid legend
Background image: Jon Candy, CC-BY-SA 2.0
Thousands of Welsh fans were left disappointed when they learned Gareth Bale would be rested for the game against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.
Fans trooped to Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground to catch a glimpse of the Real Madrid star, only to discover Ryan Giggs will field a weakened second-string side.
According to Giggs, Bale was rested for one reason: he’d just played his first 90-minute game in three months for Real Madrid; and needed to be rested and ready for Sunday’s Euro qualifier against Slovakia.
Fans of the Dragons must applaud Giggs, not criticise. It shows the gaffer is keeping tabs on Bale’s development at the Bernabeu.
Before the international break, Bale had cut a frustrated figure at Real Madrid. He wasn’t a regular in Julen Lopetegui’s side, or Santiago Solari’s. Rumours went wild – some said the player was on his way back to Tottenham Hotspur. Others claimed the player would leave at season’s end.
None of the rumours has proved true, yet. Bale remains a Madridista.
There was a remarkable change at Real Madrid on March 11 which no one missed. Real president Florentino Perez went cap-in-hand to ask for Zinedine Zidane’s help. The bald French tactician obliged.
For guys like Bale, they already knew what to expect. Zizou was the no-nonsense manager who would bench any non-performer; regardless of price tag. In fact, Bale, notably, came out to voice his unhappiness at his bit-part role with the European Champions before Zidane ended his first spell with a resignation letter.
Bale would’ve shown no emotion at the news.
Zidane rang the changes in his first game back. And Bale profited. The Welsh Wizard emerged from the fringes to start a game, alongside Keylor Navas, Marcelo and Isco. The quartet laboured committedly to please the new boss. They did just that. Navas kept a clean sheet. Marcelo an assist. Bale and Isco a goal each.
Bale and his cronies didn’t have the time to consolidate on that form before the international window said halt.
Albeit Bale isn’t out of the woods yet. First, one must ask why the Welsh top scorer has suffered from limited playing time. Why would Vinícius Júnior be preferred to such a phenomenal player?
The answer to the question lies between commitment and consistency. Bale’s talent is never in question. But his commitment to the Madrid course sometimes is. His work ethic on the pitch leaves a lot to be desired. Off the pitch, his Madrid teammates have complained he’s a loner and hasn’t learned much Spanish.
Bales’ fine moments for the Whites usually come few and far between. The man is difficult to predict. Bar Júnior’s injury, one can’t be certain Zizou would’ve given the Welshman the nod.
The bottom line is, Bale is still low on confidence. That’s why he needs to score two or three in succession. Or at least make those goals. It highlights the importance of Wales’s upcoming qualifiers.
Now its clearer why Giggs rested his superstar. That’s a good step in the right direction. The former Manchester United legend mustn’t stop there. He must give Bale some serious talking to. The 29-year-old needs to put his heart into games. Wales’s demigod cannot be allowed to slip into obscurity.
Ryan Giggs can flip a switch for Bale. This guy should be able to lift Real Madrid and replace Cristiano Ronaldo. Too far maybe?