Gareth Bale started 2018 in brilliant fashion.
The Welshman scored five goals in his opening four games of the calendar year, providing a reminder of what he’s capable of when fit and firing.
Bale’s Real Madrid career has been blighted by injury - he’s accumulated 25 problems since his arrival at the Bernabeu in 2013, accounting for 78 matches - but it was thought, after scoring a brace against Deportivo La Coruna last month, that he could put together a strong run of form.
But that, unfortunately, hasn’t been the case.
Bale wasn’t called upon to start against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and was also on the bench against Real Sociedad and Leganes.
Madrid have instead preferred Marco Asensio, with the 22-year-old providing an assist against PSG and starting against both Sociedad, Real Betis and Leganes.
Asensio, who scored a brace in the 5-3 win over Betis, has left Bale in a difficult position. And Los Blancos are ready to resolve the situation.
Real Madrid have made a decision on Bale
According to Spanish outlet Marca, Real Madrid no longer want Bale to block Asensio’s pathway and have decided to put the former Tottenham Hotspur star up for sale at the end of the season.
Marca’s report claims that Madrid viewed Bale as something similar to Neymar’s role at Barcelona; he was the prince, Cristiano Ronaldo was the king, and Bale would step up when necessary.
But the reigning European champions do not feel that Bale has reached that level on a consistent basis. There is a sense within the club that the 28-year-old needs total freedom to perform at his best, but his abilities do not warrant such luxuries.
Bale was absent from post-Leganes team photo
Bale's agent believes he's worth £198m
News that Real Madrid are ready to sell Bale might interest Manchester United, who have been heavily linked with a move for the player.
It’s perhaps no coincidence that Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, recently said his client is worth as much as Neymar, who joined PSG in a £198 million deal from Barcelona last summer.
"I think he’s worth as much as Neymar,” Barnett said. “He loves Real Madrid and doesn’t want to leave.”
It seems he may not have a choice. Bale’s injury record means he’s rather unreliable, and Real Madrid have what they feel is a future Ballon d’Or winner in Asensio ready to become a regular in the starting line-up.
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