There’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition, as Gareth Bale will have learnt during Cristiano Ronaldo’s ongoing labours to make him feel welcome at Real Madrid.
Settling into life at the Santiago Bernabeu is far from an easy task, especially when you have the tag of the world’s most expensive player. Ronaldo was said to be unhappy at Bale breaking that particular record, and even his side’s director of football Zinedine Zidane agreed that the £85 million fee Madrid paid Spurs for the Welshman’s services was excessive. The signing also cleared the way the popular Mesut Ozil to transfer to Arsenal, another move that has irked the Madrid hierarchy.
The rivalry between the two players was observed even before Bale stepped onto the pitch, with Ronaldo making a number of hefty challenges in training; Real’s new signing responded in turn with a nutmeg.
A signing of Gareth Bale’s magnitude is bound to keep even Madrid’s inflated egos on their toes. Yet, at the same time Real coach Carlo Ancelotti appears not to have introduced a friendly rivalry, but rather deeply unsettled his squad at the very core.
The ‘clique culture’ at Madrid will make it very difficult for Bale to find friends in a dressing room of vipers, ready to strike their poison at any moment if it means protecting the top dog: Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese poser has thanked them for their gratitude with a hat trick against Galatasaray in the Champions League.
To make matters worse, the battle for stardom is not confined to the Bernabeu. Off the pitch, Adidas are reportedly prepared to offer Bale a multi-million pound deal in a marketing battle to outsell Nike, incidentally represented a certain Mr. C Ronaldo.
Both attackers made 22 appearances in the league last season, though Ronaldo netted 24 goals to Bale’s 13. Mercifully, Bale does not appear to have quite the narcissistic of his companion, though he hasn’t been the world’s expensive player for that long.
Messi vs. Ronaldo made sense. It was Barcelona vs. Real Madrid and a power struggle between the two (universally acclaimed) best players in the world. Note no mention of Bale here, and little mention of team spirit in Real’s dressing room while the conflict continues.
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