If you’ve been reading any of the mainstream football media in the last few weeks, you won’t fail to have noticed that Gareth Bale is having a bit of a bad time at the moment.
You see, for some reason, Real Madrid fans have decided that they’re not overly happy with their £86 million man. And they’ve made their feelings very clear with a barrage of abuse at multiple Madrid games.
Now, it almost goes without saying that the treatment that Bale has been receiving isn’t really warranted. The Welshman may have put in a couple of below-par performances, but the reality is that this is simply the case of a player being made a scapegoat for the disappointing performances of a whole team.
It was not Bale who singlehandedly lost the last El Classico. It is not just Bale who lies four points behind arch rivals Barcelona. It is the entire team. And yet, as so often seems to be the way with Madrid fans, one player needs to carry the can for the whole side.
It’s not fair. Of course it’s not fair. But thankfully, Bale seems to have pretty thick skin. Speaking after his starring role in Wales’ 3-0 victory over Israel, the Welsh wizard said:
“I don’t need to answer the critics. I know, and everyone around me knows what I can do. There are ups and downs in football, you have to take it with a pinch of salt and all you can do is respond with your performances on the pitch. I don’t feel I need to prove anyone wrong or right, I just need to play my football”
Bale’s response shows a maturity that is impressive for a 25-year old, but despite his reasoned, intelligence response to the abuse he has been receiving, one wonders how long he will tolerate it. The boos show no real sign of abating, and there may come a time where he questions whether he really needs this from his own fans.
The reality is that almost any club in the world would take Bale on, so Madrid need to be careful here. Just because they are among the biggest clubs in the world, it doesn’t mean that it would make any sense at all for them to force Bale out. Sadly, that’s what seems to be happening right now.