Gareth Bale’s inability to grasp the Spanish language nearly six years on from his move to Real Madrid has been well documented.
The Welshman conducted his first interview in Spanish in 2015, two years after settling in Spain, and he hasn’t shown any desire to continue speaking the language in public.
Bale’s language tutor, Michael Gomez, said in 2017 that the winger is still a little apprehensive when speaking the local language.
“He is a perfectionist and until he reaches a very good level he’ll feel that he isn’t perfect at it and he’ll cut himself short,” Gomez said, per Marca.
Two years on and the situation doesn’t seem to have improved much.
Real Madrid left-back Marcelo admitted in an interview with Esporte Interativo that he communicates with Bale through gestures as the Wales international’s Spanish is very limited.
“Bale does not speak [Spanish] as he only speaks English and we talk with gestures and I say, ‘Hi, hello and good wine,’” Marcelo was quoted as saying by Marca.
Bale spoke briefly in Spanish in 2017
Bale’s Spanish interviews are few and far between. He showed that he remains fearful of attempting the language when he was interviewed by Spanish broadcaster Cadena Ser in 2017.
The 29-year-old answered the majority of the questions in English, turning to Spanish for the final 20 seconds or so.
The general consensus among fans on Reddit is that Bale’s Spanish was very basic and he made a few grammatical errors.
“There are a few grammatical errors and essentially everything he said in that interview is in basic and simple Spanish,” wrote one fan.
Another added: “I say it’s okay. He talks kind of ‘fast’, so you can see he has some experience in Spanish. Some grammatical errors are there and I think he has the most problems with getting the words right, hence still lacking knowledge of them.
“But he has the feeling for the language, that’s good.”
According to another Reddit user, the video is clear evidence that Bale can’t talk about common interests with teammates.
“You can understand how he says literally 4 words, struggles with 2 of them, misplaces adjectives and prepositions all over the place and can’t put up the bread and breakfast of Spanish (and any language) sujeto+verbo+predicado,” wrote ‘Random_Acquaintance’.
“He can communicate basic concepts but it’s pretty clear he can’t talk about common interests with another teammate.”
But user ‘Allthingsconsidered-’ came to Bale’s defence.
“This video is from 2017 and he speaks fine there, not perfect but good enough to everyone understand him,” they wrote.
“He should be better now but does it even matter? At the level he speaks in this video he shouldn’t be getting criticised as if he couldn’t speak a lick of Spanish.”
That was three-and-a-half years into Bale’s Spanish adventure, where it was clear he was still learning the language.
He’s now approaching six years in Spain but it doesn’t seem as if much improvement has been made.
It was clear in his first interview in Spanish that Bale still had a lot of work to do.