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Bale accused of "taking the piss out of" Real Madrid after Wales start

Gareth Bale has been accused of disrespecting Real Madrid after returning from a long injury absence in Wales' World Cup qualifying win over Belarus on Saturday.

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Bale: Wales star accused of "taking the piss out of" Real Madrid
Richard Heathcote Getty Images

Gareth Bale has been accused of "taking the piss out of" Real Madrid after starting in Wales’ World Cup qualifying win over Belarus, having not appeared for his club for two and a half months.

Bale reaches century of caps in first game since September

Bale won his 100th international cap on Saturday as Wales earned a 5-1 victory that sent Robert Page’s side into second in their group, with one game left to play.

The 32-year-old was substituted at half time at Cardiff City Stadium, but allayed injury fears after the match. “It was always the plan to play 45,” he told an interview with Sky Sports. “I’ve obviously been out for two months and it was always planned that if we were up in the game, I would come off and try to get ready for Tuesday and see how I feel.”

Bale last played for Madrid in a 1-0 LaLiga win at Real Betis on 28 August, one of three appearances he has made for Los Blancos since returning from a season-long loan at Premier League club Tottenham.

Bale, who is out of contract at the Bernabéu at the end of the season, then featured for Wales against Finland, Belarus and Estonia in early September, before being ruled out with a hamstring tear suffered in Madrid training on his return to Spain.

Bale in action against Belarus on Saturday.

"Someone should give Bale an absolute rollicking"

Speaking on Spanish radio station Cadena SER on Saturday, AS columnist Antonio Romero laid into Bale for what he perceived as the player putting country over club - something the Welshman has often been accused of in Spain.

Considering he’s Real Madrid’s best-paid player, his attitude is disgraceful,” Romero said. "On 30 June [when his contract expires], Madrid will get a load off their backs. I think he’s a poor example to others in the dressing room and in private someone should give him an absolute rollicking.

“It’s shocking that he’s a starter today for his national team after more than two months without playing for Madrid. He’s taking the piss out of the club he represents.”

In November 2019, as Wales celebrated qualifying for Euro 2020, Bale angered Real Madrid fans by posing with a Welsh flag reading: “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.”

Wales leapfrog Czech Republic

Wales' thumping win over Belarus came courtesy of two goals by Aaron Ramsey and one each for Neco Williams, Ben Davies and Connor Roberts, as the Euro 2016 semi-finalists went three points above the Czech Republic in World Cup qualifying Group E. However, they can no longer reach Qatar 2022 automatically, after Belgium beat Estonia to ensure top spot.

A point against the Belgians on Tuesday will secure a second-placed finish for the Welsh, who had already guaranteed a place in the qualification play-offs by winning their UEFA Nations League group.