Gareth Bale missed Real Madrid’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on Friday as the Spanish champions crashed out of the Champions League.
While Los Blancos were preparing for their second leg, the Welshman was busy playing golf, a sport that he seems to prefer right now.
This after Real boss Zinedine Zidane admitted Bale didn’t want to play against City.
“It was a personal conversation I had with him. He preferred not to play,” Zidane admitted at his press conference on Thursday, per Sky Sports.
"The rest remains between me and him but he said he didn't want to."
Bale’s contract doesn’t expire until 2022, so he could be an issue for Real Madrid for another two years.
And an expensive one at that. He is estimated to earn £350,000-per-week after tax.
Bale’s lack of game time this season didn’t prevent them from winning La Liga but the fact that Sergio Ramos was the club’s second-highest goalscorer emphasises their attacking concerns.
And a productive Bale would surely have helped Madrid get beyond the last-16 of the Champions League.
But what do Real Madrid fans make of it?
They can’t be happy watching on as the 31-year-old collects a hefty wage, plays a lot of golf and doesn’t turn up for important matches.
One supporter has summed up their feelings in a passionate Twitter thread about Bale’s downfall.
Posted by @GreatWhite_9, the thread explores the Wales international’s failure to step up in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, even being outshone by youngsters Vinicious Jr. and Rodrygo.
The fan writes: “You expect Madrid fans to stay calm when a player of his quality suddenly vanishes?
“I was a big fan of Gareth Bale. He was my second favourite after Ronaldo. But last couple of years he has completely lost it.
“How do you think the fans feel to have a player that doesn't try or gives enough effort but gets paid 350k per week? This prevents us from signing other players like Mbappe as well.”
What has hurt @GreatWhite_9, and other Real Madrid fans, is Bale’s lack of effort when he was struggling, despite being given plenty of opportunities.
“Even us fans, we want to see him try harder,” the fan continues. “We want to see his level best.
“But he hasn't done it. For two consecutive seasons he's been absolutely useless.”
@GreatWhite_9 continues: “Now about Golf.
“No one really gives a f**k about what he does in his own time. We just ask for one thing. Show the same passion and desire on the football field.
“He always had this hobby. But no one said anything. It annoyed the fans because of his lack of effort in football.”
There is, however, a hope that Bale can turn it around and help Los Blancos dominate in Europe again.
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