Despite scoring the winning goal in the Champions League and Copa del Rey final, Gareth Bale has still been jeered by the Real Madrid faithful. There are obviously several perks for playing for Los Blancos, but the overly demanding supporters are sometimes not one of them.
A lesser character would have crumbled under the pressure of the crowd, but this season has seen Gareth Bale rise to the occasion and become one of Real's standout performers.
Now Madrid supporters are asking: is Bale the new king of Madrid?
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Not many took a shine to Rafael Benitez when he was appointed the manager of Real Madrid, but Bale certainly did. With 13 goals and eight assists so far this campaign, Bale has shown why Florentino Perez splashed out so much money to sign him. The Welshman will likely be the one shining light from Benitez's underwhelming reign.
It just so happens that Bale reserved his best performance of the season for Benitez's last game in charge against Gary Neville's Valencia. Bale's flick in the build-up to the first goal was majestic, much like his touch in the final minute to bring the ball out of the air, although he promptly fired over the bar soon after. If he had taken that, albeit difficult chance, Benitez may still be in charge - though his sacking had a sense of inevitability about it.
It's rumoured that the result against Valencia was irrelevant; Benitez was going to go regardless of what happened. Judging by how the team celebrated after Bale's superb header gave them a 2-1 lead, it wasn't the players that wanted Benitez to go. On the other hand, the way Madrid surrendered the lead straight afterwards suggests that maybe Benitez was running on borrowed time.
Will Bale respond as well to Zidane?
After ruthlessly succeeding Benitez, Zinedine Zidane ensured the fans that he would continue to show Bale the same amount of affection he had received from the former Liverpool manager. But as many have found out in the past - managing a player's ego is a lot easier said than done.
In Zidane's first game in charge - last weekend's home fixture with Deportivo - Bale struck a hat-trick in a 5-0 win. Not a bad way to start your time under a new manager.
Keeping Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale happy seems to be an impossible task. Whilst Bale was thriving under Benitez this season, Ronaldo was enduring his worst goal-scoring spell in years, and seemed to subsequently blame Benitez for his relative demise.
If the form of Bale and lack of form from Ronaldo continues, it will be hard for the Portuguese international to pin the blame on the manager. Ronaldo's body language, attitude and contribution have been questioned this season, a scenario he hasn't faced before. If he can't turn the doubters around, Bale has shown everything needed to become the new king of the Bernabeu.
Can Gareth Bale become the best in the world? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!
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