It had been rather clear right from the start that Gareth Bale was not happy with the way Real Madrid president Florentino Perez handled the situation.
Rafa Benitez was the first manager at the Bernabeu that Bale had been able to communicate with in his mother tongue. According to most, he took full advantage of that fact and spoke at length about his role in the squad. Benitez made it clear that Bale was to be his key man for the foreseeable future.
For Bale, it was always going to be an awkward situation. The only Real Madrid manager he has truly connected with was also the one man who had completely failed to win over the vast majority of the other senior players.
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So, while it is claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo is delighted with Benitez's departure, Bale has had to cope with what appears to be a major personal disappointment. Indeed, the Welsh wonder has now openly admitted that he wasn't happy with Perez's decision.
Bale told the Guardian: “I had a very good relationship with Rafa. Obviously, it was a big disappointment to see him go but things like this happen in football: you’re professional and you get on with it, and carry on.”
Reports of an exit
His discontent has naturally alerted Manchester United, who have been desperate to bring him back to the Premier League ever since he left Tottenham in 2013. A reliable report from the Sunday Times claimed they could spend upwards of £90m if Bale gives them enough encouragement.
But while a return to the Premier League, where the fans will be a lot more forgiving than in Madrid, must be tempting, the 26-year-old says he is happy playing for Los Blancos at the moment.
“I’m happy at the moment," he continued. "Obviously, you can never predict what happens in the future but I’m enjoying my football at the moment, so I’ll keep going.”
Rather contrastingly, Bale's first performance under Zinedine Zidane on Saturday – a 5-0 win over Deprtivo – was hailed by some in the Spanish press as his best in a Real Madrid shirt. He grabbed a hat-trick in a dominant performance before being substituted to the strange sound of a Bernabeu ovation.