Manchester United legend David Beckham has tipped Gareth Bale to rediscover top form ahead of ‘El Clasico’.
The Welsh winger has endured the wrath of Real Madrid fans this season after a dip in form at the Santiago Bernabeu, and even sparked an online war-of-words between the BBC and Marca.
But Beckham, who spent four years in Spain and won the La Liga title in his last season with Madrid, thinks Bale is good enough to turn it around alongside some world-class teammates.
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The former Tottenham Hotspur star showed signs of a change in fortunes with a brace against Levante last weekend, and he’ll hope to add to that further with a fine display against Barcelona on Sunday night.
“Gareth had the perfect season last year – he scored important goals," Beckham told Spanish newspaper AS.
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"He arrived at Real Madrid as one of the most expensive players in football, so there was always going to be expectations. Gareth is one of the best players in the world and he’s joined a team with a lot of other great players.
“To play with Cristiano [Ronaldo], to play with Sergio [Ramos], to play with Iker [Casillas] and all the other players he’s playing with, that’s going to make him a better player.
Reflecting on his first season in the capital, Beckham describes it as ‘perfect' for Bale. He scored the winner against Barca in the Copa del Rey final, and also notched the crucial second goal in a 4-1 Champions League final victory.
That could have worked against the Welshman, in the eyes of Beckham at least, but the former Manchester United star believes Bale is ‘one of the best’ and will come good.
"Last season was a perfect season for him; this season, he’s still doing well but there’s always going to be moments when doesn’t do as well in games – that’s normal as he is one of the best players," he added.
“He’s scored great goals already this season and he’s a great character. For me, he’s one of the best.”
From the outside looking in, it appears pretty clear that the Real Madrid fans are not satisfied with Bale. That could change with a match-winning performance against Barcelona of course, but for how long?
With that in mind, it might well be worth Bale looking for a new home. There are no shortage of admirers, and Manchester United would seem like an ideal place for the Welshman if they can make it to the Champions League next season.
Louis van Gaal has spent plenty of money on the Red Devils side since being appointed last summer, but they still haven't put together the performances that supporters are expecting at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have been linked with a move for Bale in recent weeks, and whilst Beckham spent time with Madrid perhaps he could help convince the left-footer to return to the Premier League.
Real Madrid fans - do you think Gareth Bale can find top form or should he be sold in the summer?