Debate has been raging this week, in light of news that Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale was booed by a section of his own support, about The Welshman’s value to the team.
He was supposedly booed because, not for the first time, he failed to make an obvious pass to Cristiano Ronaldo in the victory over Espanyol – instead he elected to shoot and missed the target.
Bale’s time at Real Madrid has been something of an anomaly. His stats are superb. In his first year and a bit at the club he has won The Champions League, The European Super Cup, The Copa Del Rey and The World Club Cup. He scored in three of those four finals and got an assist in the other. And, overall, he’s scored 36 in 74 games for the Spanish giants. That’s a record which would make a lot of conventional strikers blush.
Yet there remain doubts about his general contribution to the team. There has been talk about his failure to track back as well as his preference to shoot instead of giving to the ball to CR7. And perhaps the biggest problems for Bale are these regular comparisons with the great man.
He cost more than Ronaldo but isn’t as good. But few purchases in football will ever offer better value for money than Ronaldo. Even at £80m he’s a represents a snip and a player this good may never reappear.
Yet you sense that Bale is being judged by Ronaldo’s standards and he’ll always be a loser in this respect.
But the truth is that Bale is a wonderful tool in Real Madrid’s armoury. Quite apart from his technique, his running power, pace and athleticism give the team a much sharper and dynamic edge. He will never score as many as Ronnie but Real Madrid would undoubtedly be a poorer 11 without him.
We think that Bale will return to The Premier League eventually. But he will have at least this season and next in La Liga before a return home.
But, ultimately, he may be better-suited to, and more appreciated in, the fast-paced Premier League.
So is Bale good enough for Real Madrid? Let’s have your thoughts.