Last summer, reports in Spain claimed Gareth Bale had told Real Madrid officials he no longer wanted to play on the right wing following a frustrating second season at the Bernabeu.
The Welshman reportedly felt his game was suffering by being deployed out on the right flank and, in order to become more effective during matches, he was keen to be played infield.
This story has now been confirmed by Carlo Ancelotti, Bale’s manager during the 2014-15 campaign and the man who helped bring him to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2013, in his new book 'Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches'.
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The Italian coach was perturbed that Bale’s agent had gone directly to Florentino Perez, Real Madrid’s president, instead of him after becoming frustrated.
Ancelotti then approached Bale a day later and asked the former Tottenham star why he didn’t go directly to him with questions about his position on the pitch.
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Ancelotti reveals Bale's agent went to Perez
"One morning in March I received a phone call from the Madrid general director saying that the president wanted to speak with me at the end of training that day,” Ancelotti is quoted as saying by Goal. “This was very unusual. When I visited the president, he told me that Bale's agent had been to his office to speak about the 'Bale situation.
"In January, Bale's agent had been saying things and perhaps felt his position was strong because he had already spoken with the president. Now he was telling the president that Bale was unhappy in his position. He wanted to play more centrally.
"The president asked me what we were going to do and I told him 'Nothing'. It was impossible to change his position at that stage of the season because I would have had to change the whole system and move many more players around. I also told the president that I was surprised the player could not speak directly with me. That would be normal. I would have expected the player to come to see me.
"Bale had fantastic world-class qualities and all that I was trying to do was help him understand his core strengths so he could fulfil his potential and by the way, that I was more qualified than his agent or the president to help him with that.
"I told the president that I would speak with Bale myself the next day, which I did after training. I told him 'I know that your agent spoke to the president. Why didn't you come to speak with me about what you want?'. He said 'Yes, OK, no problem.'
"I explained to him what I had said to the president, how it was impossible for me to change the system as it wasn't just one position, it was the whole team. I was clear with him. I told him that we could try some things in the summer, next year's pre-season, to change his position, but not now."
Ancelotti sacked because of Bale treatment?
Ancelotti was sacked by Perez last summer and Spanish newspaper AS claimed at the time the Italian lost his job because of his treatment of the club’s record signing.
Bale does appear to be happier working under Zinedine Zidane.
In 29 matches this season, the forward has scored an impressive 19 goals and there’s talk he could sign a contract extension with the Spanish giants.
Will Gareth Bale emerge as Real Madrid’s most important player next season? Have your say by leaving a comment below.