Harsh comments suggest Gareth Bale would be foolish to stay at Real Madrid
"After four years he cannot speak Spanish, does not even know how to say 'buenos dias' or 'buenas tardes'."
Gareth Bale probably won't leave Real Madrid before Thursday's transfer deadline. Even Manchester United, who have long been linked with the Welsh player, and their riches probably couldn't get a deal over the line in such a short time. But it's obvious to almost everyone that Bale is on borrowed time in Spain.
Well, apart from Bale, who seems oblivious to the fact that he would be best served by leaving Madrid.
There are several signs that show Bale's time in the Spanish capital is coming to an end.
For a start, Zinedine Zidane can't rely on him as he once did. Bale has struggled with injuries over the past two seasons, particularly last season. In his first two campaigns, the former Spurs forward played 44 and 48 times respectively. That figure dropped to 31 in the 2015/16 season, and then just 27 last season. However, the team are better without him.
Isco replaced Bale in the starting line-up, and showed that he's a fantastic footballer. The midfielder is one of the most in-form players in Europe and good enough to grace any team. Bale recovered from injury in time for last season's Champions League final, but Zidane opted to start him on the bench. Madrid's midfield of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos is perfectly balanced, Isco is a star and Cristiano Ronaldo has to play when fit or not suspended for pushing referees. Karim Benzema brings the best out of Ronaldo.
There's also this guy.
Marcos Asensio is only 21, and his talent is frightening. He is a more technically gifted player than Bale, but equally capable of surging runs and spectacular goals. The Spaniard is a wonderfully balanced player, fast and a strong dribbler, he can link play and showed his creativity with a brilliant assist for Ronaldo against Bayern Munich last season.
Asensio is only going to get better, the clamour for him to play every game will only get louder and it's difficult to imagine a scenario where Bale is selected ahead of him. Last Sunday, Madrid drew 2-2 at home to Valencia, Ascensio scored twice, Bale was taken off with 15 minutes to go while Zidane's team were chasing the game. It'd be interesting to see what happens when Ronaldo returns from suspension, and how it effects Bale, because Ascensio can't be dropped on current form.
In addition to injury issues, the form of younger, potentially better players and his own problems regarding his integration within the side, Bale appears to have lost the unwavering support of Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid president.
As reported by Dermot Corrigan for ESPN, Josep Pedrerol of Spanish broadcasters La Sexta, who is close to Perez, was very critical of Bale earlier this week, despite defending the Welshman in the past.
"What did he do yesterday? Nothing. The fans want players who are committed, players who leave their souls out on the pitch. What commitment has Bale shown? Nothing. After four years he cannot speak Spanish, does not even know how to say 'buenos dias' or 'buenas tardes'. But that is the least important, your commitment you show on the pitch, running for the ball, pressuring the opponent, putting the team on your shoulders. Yesterday that was left to Asensio, a kid of 21. Benzema is criticised for missing chances, but at least he tried. Bale needs to be spoken to, seriously. And if anybody offers €100 million, he must be sold, and you must say 'thank you' in English, as he will not understand anything else."
It is difficult to imagine someone close to the Real president being so critical if the player had the support of the club's hierarchy.
Of course, despite such heavy criticism, it doesn't mean Bale will be sold, particularly not in the current window which closes on Thursday. But the situation also doesn't look favourable for him, and Madrid probably wouldn't stand in his way if an offer was made.
Manchester United would be ideal for the forward. He might not be good enough to be an automatic starter for Madrid, but there's no shame in that. Zidane's side are the best in the world, Bale would be the missing piece needed to make United the best in England again. He reportedly sees a return to the Premier League as a step-backwards, but being a key player for United is infinitely better than warming the bench and getting booed by Madrid fans. The sooner Bale realises that, the better it'll be for his career.