Jose Mourinho will have cast an eye over the match between Real Madrid and Manchester City to see how Gareth Bale reacted to his flagrant flirtations.
Bale's early promise
The Welshman is trying to take responsibility for two thirds of the fabled ‘BBC’ in the United States, given the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo. In the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Bale made a promising start to the match; an electric run in the second minute left Vincent Kompany helpless on the turf. But his ferocious shot flew over.
That phase of play set the trend for Bale in a week where he has come to be considered the dispensable member of Real Madrid’s attack as the pursuit of Kylian Mbappé continues. He was willing, his work-rate tireless. His shy persona stayed in the dressing room; during the warm-up he sought out each of his team-mates for a handshake or fist pump.
Yet after that initial run, which got the members of the English press (literally) to their feet, he became overly hasty. He misplaced eight of his 16 attempted passes in the first half, and he touched the ball just 13 times, less than any of his team-mates.
Ronaldo's boots too big for Bale?
Something is happening with Gareth Bale. He should have returned raring to go this pre-season, given his disrupted 2016/17 campaign, and the continued absence of Cristiano Ronaldo. Yet he has failed to make an impact.
The former-Tottenham man has occupied Ronaldo’s role on the left in the two matches he has played so far (he started in attack against City but drifted wide), but he hasn’t come close to matching the Portuguese’ influence. It’s not that he isn’t scoring goals (the last time he scored was against Villarreal on Feburary 26), it’s that he isn’t creating them either.
“I can’t sign you because you don’t talk”, said Jose Mourinho in Santa Clara. Manchester United are still keen on Bale, meanwhile in Madrid he is failing to convince that he will be the successor to Cristiano Ronaldo. The European Super Cup meeting between United and Madrid, on August 8, is now just around the corner.