REAL MADRID

Real Madrid do not see Bale as the solution

Gareth Bale did well on Tuesday night against Ajax despite difficult circumstances but Real Madrid are not convinced that he is the answer to their problems.

Gareth Bale found himself by chance in one of those situations that highlight the best aspects of his game. When tactical details need to be worked upon or the patience to slowly assume control of a game is needed, he tends to lose himself in individual adventures and gets distracted by a hundred different things. But when we’re talking about the epic (guiding Wales to the quarters or semi-finals of a European Championship for example) pass the ball to Bale; but do really give it to him. With all the ups and downs of Real’s season, it is a tough ask to place your faith in a player like Bale in the hope that the best version magically appears when, in the eyes of fans and media, he has so often been disappointing when handed a chance.

But it is also true that without sufficient playing time, without feeling the confidence of those in charge or even his own teammates, the majority of players do not respond positively. And Bale even less so. He took to the pitch against Ajax without any chest-beating (he is, after all, the Iceman) but he won a couple of balls, one in the opposition half, picking Frenkie de Jong’s pocket and charging forward.

Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale.

And he nearly found Marco Asensio, who had shown his marker a clean pair of heels. On another break, just before half-time, Bale arrived at the edge of the area with the strength of someone in perfect physical shape, striding forward and smacking the post with a rasping left-footer.

Ajax were the better side in every aspect in the second half and none of Real’s players kicked up much of a stink. Bale attempted more shots than most of his teammates and unfortunately ended the game injured. But he was more relevant than most, not matter what you read this morning.

After a game between Bayern Munich and Juventus some time ago, Franz Beckenbauer noted that the Italian side had a forward who had made all the right runs but his colleagues had not seen them. He was talking about Ian Rush. Bale’s situation is not exactly the same but it is the case that his teammates do not see him as the solution. That has not gone unnoticed by him and, as a consequence, the side suffers. And he does too.