Friday, 18 Sep, 9.49 am Orissa POST

Relief for both as Gareth Bale saga ends at Real Madrid

Madrid: Gareth Bale's ordeal with Real Madrid is finally set to end. The Wales footballer will soon return to Tottenham Hotspur after seven silverware-laden years at Real Madrid. However, in the Spanish capital there is an overwhelming sense of disappointment rather than gratitude over his legacy. Gareth Bale scored vital strikes in Champions League finals against Atletico Madrid and Liverpool. He also had a career-defining Copa del Rey final winner against eternal rivals Barcelona. In 251 games for Real Madrid he scored 105 goals and had 68 assists.

As Bale's departure edges closer, the media and fans are focusing on his eye-watering salary of 30 million euros ($35.39 million) per year. His brilliant performances on the pitch have been overshadowed by his injury record plus an apparent wavering attitude.

'Bale cost Madrid 23,800 euros per minute,' ran the headline of a report Thursday in Spanish sports newspaper AS. 'Gareth Bale cost 101 million euros to Real Madrid. He has left a small collection of key goals, a long medical history and more non-sporting controversies than Real Madrid would have liked,' the report added.

Common themes among Bale's critics are that he did not show the same commitment to the club as for Wales. Also he did not aspire to be the team's leader after Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2018

Bale is a naturally shy character who rarely gave interviews or spoke Spanish in public. He never ingratiated himself to Madrid supporters, who have idolised larger-than-life figures such as the late Juanito and current captain Sergio Ramos.

Bale's fondness for playing golf was taken as a sign he was not 100 per cent committed to playing football has been taken into account. Also the player has been often blamed for his frequent injuries.

Bale did not always help himself though, from dancing with a fan's banner which celebrated his love for Wales and golf. He also looked bored and lethargic as he sat on the substitutes' bench for the final matches of last season.

A nadir came in August. Coach Zinedine Zidane said Bale had refused to travel with the team to their Champions League last-16 decider at Manchester City.

'We never knew what was going through his head. I'd have loved to hear him say he wanted to fight for Real Madrid,' said Spanish radio pundit Alvaro Benito. 'But everything he transmitted did not suggest he was truly committed or made us hopeful he could lead the team when Cristiano left. Bale had numerous opportunities to be the player we all thought he could have been. He has been decisive in the key moments that are not easy at all. Even then it's a sad situation because we all expected more,' Benito added.

The sense of disappointment in Bale may be hard to grasp outside Spain. This he because of the goals he scored. He also helped Real Madrid win 13 trophies, including four Champions Leagues, two La Liga titles and one Copa del Rey. But it is perhaps understandable given the uniquely high standards at Real Madrid.

For all of his quality, Bale rarely stood a chance of being remembered as a hero at Real Madrid. The club have had players like Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas to modern greats Zidane, Raul and Ronaldo.

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Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by Dailyhunt. Publisher: Orissa Post