In this week’s Comments Below, Poet and Vuj both talk about the possible departure of Gareth Bale. The Welsh forward has been frustrated this year due to poor form and vocal criticism from the Madrid fans, and rumours that he could be off to United in the summer have intensified. It’s certainly a dramatic turn around from this time last year, when Bale ended his first year in the white of Real Madrid by scoring the winner in the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League Final. But just how far has he fallen in one season? Has he really dropped his form at all?
A brief look at the bare statistics suggest that Bale hasn’t regressed too much in terms of attacking output from last season to this season. In fact, Bale has scored and assisted more this season, registering 15 goals and 12 assists compared to last season’s 13 goals and 9 assists. This may make you wonder why Madrid fans are getting on his back at all, given that he has statistically contributed more to Madrid’s title push this year than he did in 2013-14. The reason for the frustration of the Madrid fans lies in his performances in the cup competitions.
Whereas last year Bale’s most notable performances can in the Copa Del Rey Final and the Champions League (and, obviously, the Champions League Final), this year Bale failed to make any significant contributions in either competition, scoring just two goals and in general seeming not to be on the same wavelength as the other forwards (ahem, Ronaldo…). What frustrates Bale fans, the neutrals, and most probably Bale himself, is that there is a feeling that Bale hasn’t actually played that badly this year. The stats do not really work in his favour with regards to his totals in all competitions this year, but Bale’s sub-par performances have definitely been highlighted and criticised far more than those committed by other Madrid players (ahem, Ronaldo…). He has become the undeniable scapegoat for this under-performing Madrid team, and it is a ploy like this from the Madrid fans that could see him out the door.
If you take into consideration the goals and assists from Hazard this year in the league (in what everyone agrees has been his best season in a Chelsea shirt) and those of Bale (in what everyone agrees has been his worst in a Madrid shirt), then it strengthens further the view that Madrid fans and possibly players are making too big a deal out of Bale apparent sub-par season. What is for sure is that, if they keep up their complaining, Bale will increasingly be looking to join Hazard in the Premier League, where his talents are more appreciated.