Gareth Bale should leave Real Madrid if he is to re-discover his best form

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Its no wonder Gareth Bale has cut an increasingly desperate and embittered figure in his last few games. Surely the Welshman could not, even in his worst nightmares, have envisaged such a turbulent second season at the Santiago Bernabeu when the Spanish giants broke the world-record fee to bring him to Madrid in September 2013.

The move was described by Bale as a dream come true and the 'start of a new and exciting chapter in my life'. Indeed, after his spectacular solo goal in last season's Copa del Rey final, it seemed that the dream would last a while longer.

The winger also had a part to play in Real's epic Champions League final last season as he scored the club's second goal with a powerful header to put Los Blancos firmly in the driving seat and on course for their almost obsessional clinching of La Decima.

Turning sour

However, football has a painfully short memory, particularly on the white bank of Madrid. Unfortunately for him, Bale has become the scapegoat for Merengues fans, with the out-of-form winger bearing the brunt of the fans' understandable anger and disgust at Real Madrid's run of poor performances this season.

Certainly, some of their anger is wholly justified. When your club smashes the world-record transfer fee to sign the Premier League's best player for the 2011/12 season, you expect that player to live up to his hefty price tag and deliver consistently on the biggest occasions.

Herein lies the greatest disappointment regarding Bale's move to Madrid; he did deliver on the biggest occasions during his first season, most Real fans were eagerly cheering him on when he sealed their Copa del Rey victory over rivals Barcelona with an astonishing solo goal.

However, the world-class players (when Bale was bought for the sum of £85 million in 2013, it was assumed that given his price tag, he was world class) are able to find a consistency to their game every season. Rather regrettably for the Welshman, this is where his dream at the Bernabeu could appear to be over as quickly as it began.  

Too much pressure 

When Bale signed for the Madrid giants two seasons ago, many were quick to point out that perhaps the burden of being the world's most expensive signing, combined with the relentless pressure from the Spanish media would be too much to handle for the Welshman.

In the wake of his transfer to Real, Gary Lineker rather prophetically pointed out that: "Bale has got it all and ability-wise he is phenomenal. The only question is whether he's got the mental strength to cope with such a big transfer and the spotlight that will be immense in Spain."

However, he handled his first season at the Bernabeu under the spotlight with great poise and huge success. He notched up an impressive 22 goals in 44 appearances last season, helping Los Blancos to famous victories in the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals.

Indeed, it now seems laughable that following his spectacular solo goal against bitter rivals Barcelona, Madrid-based newspaper Marca should headline their front page "The Run of a Lifetime". Meanwhile, AS, who have been notoriously critical of the Welshman in recent weeks, chose to praise his fine solo calling him both a "king" and a "thoroughbred".

Has the tide turned for the worse? 

Although the Madrid press and supporters are renowned for their high expectations and demands, particularly when it comes to those big-name signings, it would appear that at every poor performance or insipid run of form, one of their big-name signings has to be thrown under the bus.

Some might remember that following his move to the Bernabeu from White Hart Lane, Luka Modric was kindly dubbed the "worst signing of La Liga" by Real fans, before finally proving his credentials in the second half of the season and now proving to be a fan favourite in the Spanish capital.

So, one might be forgiven for thinking that following his electric first season with the Madrid-based giants, Bale would have grown in the hearts and esteem of the club's fans. 

Heavy criticism

The Welshman was jeered by his own fans after opting to shoot, rather than pass to his well-placed teammate Ronaldo in Madrid's comfortable 3-0 victory over Espanyol. However, the difference between the circumstances of that particular match and last weekend's El Clasico couldn't be more glaring or significant for Blancos fans.

Not only had Bale managed to score a superb free-kick during Real's win over Espanyol, but the Madrid outfit had emerged victors and established a four point cushion at the top of La Liga as a result.

However, on Sunday, Bale could not have cut a more isolated or frustrated figure if he tried. In the first half, he had a goal ruled out as a result of teammate Ronaldo's offside position. Still in the first half, the Welshman should have put Real in the lead. Unable to silence his detractors, he missed a clear chance to score a legitimate goal when the ball skidded to him inside the area, but he screwed his shot wide of the far post. 

Bale's night at the Camp Nou went from bad to worse in the second half when he had zero touches in the Barcelona area, and only 13 in total. To top it all off, the Welshman lost possession an astonishing 17 times and failed to deliver any crosses into the Barcelona penalty area.

Although it is still a little early to be predicting a move away from the Bernabeu for the Welshman, patience is visibly running out in the Spanish capital and with the infamous 'BBC' not functioning as well as it ought to be, it remains to be seen whether scapegoat Bale will end up paying the ultimate price.

A return back to England? 

If Real and their supporters don't seem satisfied with Bale, rest assured that a host of Premier League clubs would gladly battle it out to secure the winger's services if he was to leave the Spanish capital in the near future.

It was reported that Manchester United offered Tottenham close to €120 million for Bale in 2013 as they sought to add a string of attacking players to their ranks following the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, Bale had his heart set on Spain and the rest is history. Yet with the Welshman appearing increasingly frustrated and isolated in the Spanish capital and Angel Di Maria incidentally also struggling for form at the Theatre of Dreams, it would not be wholly improbable to completely rule out a move to Old Trafford in the near future.

Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether Ancelotti and Florentino Perez choose to persist with the Welshman despite his recent troubles. After all, you would have to be blind to say that Bale does not have the potential required to succeed at the Bernabeu, all he needs is confidence and more time.

However, many will be quick to say that, particularly at Real, Bale is working against a rapidly-ticking clock.

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La Liga
Real Madrid
Carlo Ancelotti
Gareth Bale

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