An unnamed Real Madrid player has taken a surprise dig at teammate Gareth Bale, claiming the Welshman does not defend during matches simply because he does not want to.
The player in question, who was quoted by Spanish newspaper Marca, also claimed the former Tottenham star was not in Cristiano Ronaldo’s class.
"There's only one Cristiano,” the source revealed. "Bale is a great player, but he doesn't win you matches on his own.”
Real Madrid player slams Bale
Bale has been heavily criticised this season for his lack of work ethic - particularly from a defensive aspect - and the unnamed Real Madrid player questioned his teammate’s desire.
"He doesn't defend because he doesn't want to,” the source added.
Turbulent week for Real Madrid
That a Real Madrid player has chosen to speak out about his teammate in such unflattering terms is the latest negative incident in what has been a turbulent week for the Spanish giants.
Los Blancos dropped to second place in La Liga following a 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao last Saturday, and followed that result up with a 4-3 loss to Schalke in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
The frustrated Real Madrid supporters whistled the team at the Bernabeu - despite the fact Real Madrid still advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals - while club president Florentino Perez felt the need to dismiss reports that manager Carlo Ancelotti will be sacked at the end of the season in an unscheduled press conference on Thursday.
Zidane tipped to replace Ancelotti
That Perez called the press conference in the first place suggests Real Madrid are considering sacking the Italian coach - and Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Graham Hunter is convinced a decision to part company with the former Chelsea manager this summer has already been made.
It’s understood that Real Madrid want Zinedine Zidane, the current manager of the club’s ‘B’ team, to be the club’s new manager.
But if Zidane does take charge at the Bernabeu next season, will he still have Bale at his disposal?
Bale should return to England if this continues
It’s been a tough season for the most expensive player in football history, who has failed to score in his previous nine matches for Los Blancos.
The former Spurs ace has still scored a reasonably impressive 14 goals this season, but that has not spared him from fierce criticism from some of the club’s expectant fans.
Some of Real Madrid’s supporters, according to the Daily Mail, branded Bale both an 'a******e' and a 'prostitute' following this week’s defeat to Schalke. It’s a far cry from his first season at the Bernabeu, when he was hailed as a hero after helping the Spanish giants win the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
Bale has been linked with a return to England, both Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly keen, and a move back to the Premier League is by no means beyond the realms of possibility given the circumstances.
In fact, he might already be thinking that it’s in his best interests to return to the league where he made his name.
Should Gareth Bale leave Real Madrid this summer? If so, which club should he join? Have your say in the comments below!