Following an underwhelming performance against Schalke in the Champions League, Gareth Bale was able to silence (some) critics with a brace against Levante on Sunday which keeps Real Madrid on the heels of Barcelona.
Weathering the storm
The Welshman has certainly not had an easy ride of it since his record-breaking £85 million switch to Los Blancos. One feels that, perhaps due to his hefty price tag, he has become the scapegoat of supporters and media alike when the team has, albeit regularly this season, failed to deliver.
He has repeatedly been booed by Real Madrid fans and has been dubbed “the ball-hog” by the Spanish media for his so-called selfish approach in front of goal.
Indeed, Real Madrid fans are notoriously demanding of their players, particularly their 'Galacticos', who are annually acquired for exorbitant prices. In fact, it seems ludicrous that back in 2012 when they signed Luka Modric for £30 million, he was branded the country’s worst signing.
It therefore seems appropriate that the Croatian’s return to Madrid’s starting XI has coincided with Bale re-discovering his best form. Modric had a part to play in both Bale’s goals and Ancelotti, who has incidentally always defended the Welshman, admitted that “the presence of Modric offers more depth for Bale to link up with his team-mates.”
Grabbing the headlines for the right reasons
The Welshman’s decision to emphatically celebrate his opening goal by covering his ears and kicking out at a corner flag in defiance shows a great deal about the turbulent relationship he shares with Real’s fan base and the Spanish media.
In this respect, the latter of the two were quick to commend Bale on his performance against Levante, with Marca stating that Bale went about his duties in a different manner to how he has previously.
Showing credentials when it matters most
For the ex-Tottenham star a replication of his performance against Levante on Sunday, when Los Blancos travel to the Nou Camp for a seemingly decisive Classico, is required to convince fans and the media, albeit only temporarily, that he was worth every penny Real spent on him.
Football fans, do you think that Bale's form this season is deserved of criticism? Let us know in the comments box below...