Roy Keane has blasted Gareth Bale for his performance in Real Madrid's 2-1 Champions League defeat against Juventus last night.
The Welshman has endured a difficult second season in Spain having been booed by his own supporters in recent months, and came in for yet more criticism for his anonymous performance at the Juventus Stadium.
Juventus go into the second leg with a slender advantage thanks to goals from Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez, either side of a close-range strike from Cristiano Ronaldo - his 76th in Champions League history which moves him one clear of Lionel Messi as the competition's top scorer.
Article continues below
Bale has been linked with a move back to the Premier League with Manchester United in recent months as he struggles to emerge from the shadow of Ronaldo - and Keane believes the former Tottenham star has lost his confidence after a galling few months.
"You can't win a game with 10 men," the former Manchester United midfielder said. "Gareth Bale gave Real Madrid nothing tonight.
Article continues below
"You could see a lack of confidence, but he kept making the easy decision. The reason he is at Real Madrid is to be brave, to get at people, but every time he got it tonight – even in one-v-ones – he turned back and, again, his team-mates can't be happy with him because he took the easy option every time."
Bale joined Real Madrid in 2013 for a world record £83 million deal from Tottenham, and helped them claim a record tenth European crown in his first season as well as the Copa del Rey where he scored the decisive goal in the final against Barcelona.
However he's struggled to maintain his form in his second season, managing 13 goals in 28 games in La Liga.
Manchester United are believed to be working behind the scenes with the aim of making a move for Bale in the summer, however they could have to cough up around £100 million to get the deal done.
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has moved to defend the winger's recent performances, insisting that he will come good sooner rather than later.
"Gareth Bale was tired," Ancelotti said. "He's just back from an injury and he's too important for us." He is our most dangerous player, and because he was tired, I just preferred not to take any risks with him, so I took him off."
Gareth Bale completed less passes than Iker Casillas against Juventus last night, and that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about his performance.
He's publicly insisted that he wants to stay put and the size of the deal will likely put Manchester United off this time round, but if his troubles continue he may look to return to England sooner rather than later.