Cristiano Ronaldo had been furious with Gareth Bale for not squaring the ball to him in the recent 2-1 defeat at Valencia as he bore down on goal. A similar incident against Espanyol a week later further incensed the Portuguese, leading to booing of his teammate from sections of his own support.
There has since, as expected, been reports suggesting that Bale may quit the Madrid club with Manchester United the supposed frontrunners to complete this hypothetical world transfer record.
But Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has been quick to defuse this supposed situation that has seemingly developed between Ronaldo and Bale.
“Later on the fans wanted him to pass to Cristiano but forwards are determined to score when they are through on the goalkeeper,” the Italian said.
“Relations between them and everyone are very good. We are all pursuing the same goal which is to lift Real Madrid as high as possible.”
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Spanish news outlets labelled Bale ‘a ball hog’ in the pursuing hours. However, if such headlines were to be written about Ronaldo after every time he hadn’t passed to the former Tottenham Hotspur winger, it would have taken up most of the front pages for the past 18 months.
Bale may be prone to being a little selfish, and there are times when he should indeed pass the ball rather than hold onto it, but his crimes certainly are not worthy of the mass criticism he has since endured.
They won 3-0 against Espanyol yet he took up the all the headlines for one eventually meaningless incident. Unfortunately he is just a victim of the club's hierarchy system in which Ronaldo is the king and everything is done to suit his demanding needs.
If he had failed to pass to any other Madrid player, the fuss made after would not have been anywhere near comparable. And, had been the other way round? Well it wouldn’t have even been brought to anybody’s attention.
Having watched a great deal of Bale’s games in Spain, he has often surrendered good opportunities to gain personal glory in order to pass to Ronaldo and has supplied him well during his time at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo at fault
The reigning Ballon d’Or winner has often turned down the chance to do similarly and, on these occasions, it has been treated as if he is an exception. This mentality is not healthy healthy for the team ethos. It teaches that some are better than others and that the elite are treated differently to those slightly below them.
Some will say that Ronaldo has earned the right to be in such a position due to his past achievements and all he has done for the club, and he is rightfully held as a legend of the game.
He is a phenomenon and you can understand all at Real Madrid doing anything within their powers to keep him content. However, football was a team sport and most of the beautiful game’s most trophy laden outfits have been centered around all 11 men on the pitch, as opposed to mere individuals.
It would appear that double standards are in play here. I would confidently add that Ronaldo is more of a 'ball hog' than Bale, in response to the Spanish media’s claims. Bale doesn’t have the same status of his illustrious teammate and therefore is treated like a second class citizen, leaving a bad taste in the mouth.
Madrid try to ensure that Ronaldo’s every need is catered for and it is common knowledge that the team is sometimes picked to suit him. In a club so heavily influenced by image and their owner, Ancelotti has often had to pander to demands of his superiors.
This whole seemingly ludicrous example of player power is to stop their most valuable asset from throwing a sulk. He is the main man and all the players or peasants (as you might call them), have to pass him the ball, without expecting to get it back.
They have to treat him with more respect than the other players and stick up for him in front of the media. Keeping such a player happy at the club is crucial to Los Blancos, and anyone that threatens to rebel against that ‘rule’ is outlawed, as is now seen so often with Bale.