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25th Feb 2019

Carlo Ancelotti says dispute with ‘selfish’ Gareth Bale resulted in his exit from Real Madrid

Robert Redmond

“I took him off and the mess began there.”

Carlo Ancelotti has said that a dispute with Gareth Bale ultimately led to his departure from Real Madrid. Ancelotti said the player was “selfish” and an incident between them caused a “mess” which led to his exit from the club in 2015.

The current Napoli manager joined Real as coach in 2013, the same summer Gareth Bale arrived for a then-world record fee from Tottenham Hotspur.

The pair enjoyed a successful first campaign working together.

Real Madrid won their 10th European Cup with an extra-time victory over city-rivals Atletico in Lisbon, with Bale scoring to make it 2-1 on the night.

However, despite winning the Champions League in his first season, Ancelotti lasted just another year at the club before getting sacked.

The former Chelsea coach has said that disagreement with Bale led to him getting on the wrong side of Florentino Perez. The Real Madrid president sanctioned Bale’s transfer and has been his staunchest supporter at the club.

“If there is something that drives me crazy, it is selfishness. When a player has to pass the ball and does not pass it,” Ancelotti told Il Napolista.

“I paid for that in the first person. At Madrid, I took off Bale in a game against Valencia. He had to pass the ball to Benzema, who would have scored into an empty goal, but instead of that, he shot (and missed).

“It was the reason that triggered an argument with Florentino, I took him off and the mess began there.”

If reports are to be believed, Ancelotti isn’t the first Real coach to fall out with Perez over the Welshman.

According to Spanish journalist Diego Torres, Zinedine Zidane resigned last May because the club president broke a promise to sell Bale. Torres reports that Zidane had urged Perez to sell Bale at the end of last season as he didn’t particularly rate him.

The Frenchman is said to have felt the forward was too “individualistic” and wasn’t tactically astute. There were also concerns about his injury record.

However, Bale came off the bench in the Champions League final against Liverpool to score twice and settle the game.

This reportedly prompted Perez to change his mind, which in turn led to Zidane walking away after two and half successful seasons which saw the club win three European Cups and the Spanish league.

Bale scored a penalty in Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Levante on Sunday after coming on as a substitute in the game. But he didn’t celebrate the goal and refused to join the celebrations of his teammates.

After the game, Real coach Santiago Solari supported Bale’s non-celebration stance.

“I’m very pleased. He can celebrate the goals however he likes,” he said.

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