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Real Madrid

Can "the master" Zidane lead Bale to redemption?

Will Gareth Bale justify "the most expensive player ever" tag, is he happy in Madrid or will patience run out with his injury woes prompting a move back to the Premier League?

Can "the master" Zidane lead Bale to redemption?

Gareth Bale has a point to prove. Injured for 42% of Real Madrid's season so far, his €101M price-tag has some way to go before it's paid off. Bale is back in the squad again and back training under Zidane again, which he is clearly enjoying:

Yet questions and doubts persist about Bale in Madrid, patience seems to be wearing thin at the casa blanca with his recurring injuries, and his commitment to Wales is seen as a threat to his success with los blancos.

Beyond the club, it's important to ask, how happy is Gareth in the Spanish capital? It's a difficult question to answer, and one that only he can, but it's hard to tell when he doesn't give interviews and doesn't engage much in public life - admirable discretion for a professional footballer.

Yes, his Spanish has improved to a certain degree - in this club-orchestrated interview he revealed that he likes Spanish food and Cibeles: 

And yes, he makes all the right noises on his social media accounts, but two-and-a-half years later his relationship with Benzema and Ronaldo isn't a shadow of the synergy between Messi, Neymar and Suarez.

While the MSN are all laughs, jokes, tricks, flicks and smiles, the BBC don't share any of that positive body language or off-pitch closeness. Cristiano Ronaldo pointed out that you don't need to be best friends to win things, his example that he hardly spoke to Scholes and Giggs when United won the Champion's League, but it's clearly working for Barça.

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Perhaps it's more a cultural thing; the MSN are all Latin Americans which aids an easy understanding, while the BBC is comprised of a quiet lad from Wales, a French-Algerian from the suburbs of Marseille, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Real Madrid's shipwrecked season has only one objective left: La Undécima, and delivering that would perhaps go some way to Bale's redemption as the most expensive player in the world.

IF he stays fit, that is. Bale has missed 86 days of the season with three injuries, and depending on whether Zidane can rally a troubled squad, physical injuries piled on top of the pain of hurt pride and wounded egos. The 0-4 Clásico sentenced Rafa Benítez and the 0-1 Madrid derby confirmed the worst fears of the madridistas: that they are the third-best side in Spain and deserve to be where they are.

There are reasons behind this disaster season, but being 12 points behind Barcelona and 4 behind Atleti with 11 matches to go is considered nothing less than that: a disaster.

Should Bale get injured again, and Madrid drop out of the Champions League race - very likely considering their form against the Champions League sides in Spain this season - the case may become compelling for Florentino to cash in on a monstrous offer coming from London or Manchester.


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