Real Madrid: Bale hoping for more incredible times under Ancelotti
Gareth Bale was full of compliments for the Italian coach and aspires to have one great, final year at Real Madrid. He was at his best under Carletto.
Gareth Bale still isn't giving anything away about his future or what he expects to happen next season; he has put all major decision-making off until after Euro 2020. He explained from the Wales camp last week, "I’m not thinking about anything until after the Euros. I’m not thinking about my future. As soon as the Euros finishes I’m sure I’ll have a conversation and go from there. But I’m not thinking about anything until after the Euros". In a way, what Bale is doing is sending out a message to Real Madrid's new coach Carlo Ancelotti, with the hope that they will be reunited for the new season.
Bale is under contract with Madrid until June 2022 and knows that this time, it will be difficult for him to go out on loan again like he did last year. The economic crisis which all clubs are feeling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic plus his salary, 15 million euros net per year, are big obstacles. Last season, he returned to Tottenham on loan with Madrid paying half of his wages. He finished on 16 goals and looked convincing during the moments he was used. But his idea is to complete the final year of his contract with Madrid and then make a decision about what to do next - maybe end his playing days in England or even hang up his boots altogether.
Bale joined Madrid in 2013 and his first two seasons at the club were under Ancelotti. Curiously, those first two seasons were also his best during his time at the club (not excluding the 2017-18 season in which, despite being a substitute for much of the campaign, ended with excellent figures plus two decisive goals in the Champions League final): 39 goals and 31 assists in 92 games. Figures that any player would be proud of, in a team where all of the attack flowed through Cristiano. Now Bale will soon be meeting up again with Ancelotti and knows that this is a golden opportunity to get his career back on track.
"I know Carlo Ancelotti, he’s a great manager. I get on with him really well. We had some great times in the past. But I haven’t spoken to anybody," Bale told reporters at the Wales camp on Friday. More compliments followed in an interview with Sky Sports: "He’s returned to Real Madrid and he’s a great guy. We had a great time together at Real Madrid and I’m sure he’s going to be amazing in charge there. I spoke to him when we played Everton at the start of the season, we hugged and had a little chat which was nice. But I’m still in the same boat and haven’t thought about it too much. I’ll sort the rest of it after the Euros".
From that we can gather that Bale thinks Madrid have made the right move in bringing Ancelotti back and the coach was also asked on his thoughts about the Welsh forward during his presentation: "He hasn't played a lot in the Premier League, but he has scored a lot of goals. He has been very effective in the last few games when he had had a run of games. I know him well. If he has the motivation to play, he can have a great season, no doubt about it". So it looks like everything is in place for Ancelotti and Bale to work together for a second time. The Italian coach knows that the Madrid side he will be in charge of is very different to the one he left in 2015. During the two seasons of his first spell at the club, the team scored a total of 322 goals, an average of 161 per season while last season, Madrid managed just 88 in all competitions, practically half.
Bale-Ancelotti, problems in the past
It hasn't always been fun and laughter between Bale and Ancelotti. In his autobiography Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches, which he wrote during his time at Bayern Munich, the coach recalled: "The General Director phoned me and told me that the president wanted to speak to me. When I went to his office, he told me that Bale had called him. I had replaced him on 4 January (in the 1-2 win at Mestalla that ended the winning streak). Bale's agent had complained because Gareth wanted to play through the middle. The chairman asked me what I was going to do and this was my answer: 'Nothing'. I couldn't change the system in the middle of the season. After that, the relationship with the chairman wasn't the same".
While Ancelotti has always insisted that it was Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett who was mostly responsible for that particular incident: "I don't speak to agents, I avoid them," the coach wrote. "Bale had fantastic world-class qualities and all that I was trying to do was help him understand his core strengths so he could fulfill his potential and by the way, that I was more qualified than his agent or the president to help him with that. I told the president that I would speak with Bale myself the next day, which I did after training. I told him that I knew that his agent had spoken to the president and asked him why he didn't come to speak directly with me about what he wanted. He said 'Yes, OK, no problem.' I explained to him what I had said to the president, how it was impossible for me to change the system as it wasn't just one position, it was the whole team. I was clear with him. I told him that we could try some things in the summer, next year's preseason, to change his position, but not now”.
Bale in big games
Bale has also received comments from another of his former managers José Mourinho, who was his boss at Spurs in 2020-21 until he was dismissed from the job. Mou has always been fond of Bale, and even tried to sign him when he was in the Manchester United post a few years ago. But last week, the Portuguese coach criticized Bale's figures in the big, important matches (Liverpool might argue otherwise...) adding that he has to step up and be a true leader for Wales if they are to go far at Euro 2020. Mourinho told The Times, "When we look to Gareth and how many great performances he had, how many goals he scored against the best teams, there were not many or none. It's not an easy situation for a country without many options. They have the pride, the group, the organisation. They know how to create a situation to try to get the best out of these more talented players in attack".