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Bale turns 28 but still has something to prove

REAL MADRID

Bale turns 28 but still has something to prove

Bale turns 28 but still has something to prove

JAVIER GANDUL

DIARIO AS

The Welshman, celebrating his birthday on Sunday, heads into his fifth season with Los Blancos. Injuries have meant Bale has only been a part of 56% of games since 2013.

More to give

Gareth Bale, who turns 28 today, is no longer a player of potential but still has something to prove. The Welshman has given the Madrid faithful moments to cherish - outrunning Marc Bartra to score the winner in the Copa del Rey final springs to mind. However, there remains a nagging sense of frustration, mainly due to the injuries Bale has suffered - 17 since he arrived in the summer of 2013, 12 of them ankle injuries.

Value for money

Florentino Pérez shelled out 101 million euros four summers ago in a search for the next Cristiano and Messi, yet in the Welshman's four campaigns at the Bernabéu he has yet to hit the same heights, and has come nowhere near wrestling the Ballon d'Or from either.  

Since his arrival at Madrid, Bale has only played 56% of the minutes available, almost half the games during his time at the club. Moreover, he has scored 10% of his side's goals (Cristiano, for instance, has managed 32% in the same period) and has been valued at 80 million euros by the specialist website Transfermarkt. 

The fans' view

On 25 June, AS held a poll asking the following question: Which member of the BBC should Florentino sell to make way for Mbappé? and 42.3% of readers answered that it should be Bale, 24.7% Cristiano (during the period of uncertainty surrounding his future) and 12.2% Benzema (20.8% answered that none of them should go). This, therefore, means that Bale will have to work hard to prove that he is not the weakest of the three. 

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