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Nairo Quintana 05:11:17
Nicolas Roche +00:00:05
Primoz Roglic +00:00:05

Gareth Bale has never been fully committed to Real Madrid

I had enough to occupy my mind with the painful defeat Real Madrid suffered against Real Sociedad, while I rolled the penalty decision against Vinicius that wasn’t given or referred to VAR around in my head along with all the chances that went begging against the Basque side last Sunday. And then at 01:00 my colleagues on Spanish television show El Chiringuito broadcast images that left me bewildered: seeing Gareth Bale calmly leaving the Bernabéu in his car while his teammates still had a quarter of an hour to play against Sociedad left me cold.

I wanted to try and place myself in his head but I already knew that would be difficult because despite Bale having been in Spain for five years, and as incredible as it seems, we still speak different languages. If you are part of a club like Real Madrid and you have been, in inverted commas, designated as the heir to the irreplaceable Cristiano Ronaldo, at the very least you should be able to demonstrate that you attach some importance to this chain of hierarchy that you have been gifted, however undeserved it is. I don’t know if it was born of jealousy in witnessing the exhibition put on by his deputy, Vinicius, in Sunday’s game, with the Brazilian bringing the Bernabéu to its feet in a way that the Welshman has not been able to so far this season. But I have to ask what an elite player who has his financial security assured by his club had to do that was more important than staying to watch and support his teammates until the final whistle and to see whether or not his team would stage a comeback.

Bale is more passionate about golf than football, and we all knew this. But it is quite extraordinary that within football Real Madrid does not appear to be at the top of his list of emotional priorities. If he had a personal issue on Sunday that caused him to leave the stadium early then he should at least have explained it by now, but his silence betrays him. Simply put, he showed that he couldn’t care less about the fate of his side and his teammates when their chances of winning the Liga title this season were slipping away at the time. That said, at half time Bale happily posed for pictures with everybody who asked for one, including friends of mine from supporters’ clubs. He cannot be accused of being impolite and he never has been. But is it too much to ask that he shows more passion and commitment to the club that pays his wages?

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