REAL MADRID

Real Madrid's secret Santa brings golfing gift for Gareth Bale

In an early Christmas celebration, Los Blancos players met up at a Madrid restaurant where food was enjoyed and presents were shared.

Real Madrid's secret Santa brings golfing gift for Gareth Bale

The majority of the Real Madrid squad met up on Wednesday at El Filandón, a restuarant on the outskirts of the Spanish capital, to celebrate the Christmas festivities. A pleasant surprise was seen in the form of Gareth Bale attending, and the Welshman was a recipient of a rather amusing gift from his secret Santa.

Marcelo (aka Santa) gifts Bale a new golf club

Much has been made of Bale's avoidance of several lunches and dinners organised for the players to socialise, however this get-together was a great chance for him to mingle with teammates following the 'controversy' generated with him and the Welsh flag. And it seems clear that his secret Santa wanted to have a laugh at the whole situation regarding his love of another sport.

When it came time for the presents to be handed out, it seems - based on images and comments from El Chiringuito - that Bale became the proud owner of a new golf club. Pictures of him leaving the restaurant, about an hour and a half before most of the others, showed him with the new item for his bag, and we found out later that it was Marcelo who had been responsible for the stunt that had everyone laughing.

En la esquina inferior derecha se ven unas muletas que pertenecerían a Hazard.

Other gifts handed out included: some lifting weights for Lucas Vázquez (a nod to those he dropped on his foot causing his injury); a baby walker for the long-term injured Marco Asensio; a Spanish dictionary for Luka Jovic; and for the young Brahim and Vinicius, children's toys and a cuddly toy. The one that reported caused the most amusement, though, was the brick given to Ferland Mendy.

The last time the team held a dinner was on 10 April, at the Asador Donostiarra. On that occasion, Bale, Keylor Navas and Benzema were all missing. This time around, it seems that neither Benzema nor Kroos were in attendance, while Zidane and his coaching staff were also absent.

Despite his injury, Eden Hazard did make it, along with his crutches, and was kindly chauffeured by his countryman Thibaut Courtois. And the team had company in the restaurant, as the Getafe players, with their president Ángel Torres at the head, also celebrating their Christmas dinner there, on a different floor.