How can Gareth Bale win over the Real Madrid doubters?
Gareth Bale has recently found himself on the receiving end of more jeers from some of the Real Madrid support.
The Wales international has helped the Spanish giants to win three Champions League titles, La Liga and the Copa del Rey in four full seasons at the club so far.
It’s a very impressive record. But some supporters at the Bernabeu still don’t seem to be convinced by the Wales star.
What does he need to do to win them over?
Bale only started 15 league matches last season. He missed a long spell from November to February with a calf problem.
Then after picking up another injury, he was rushed back into action for the Clasico against Barcelona in April.
The 28-year-old only lasted 38 minutes and didn’t feature in the league for the rest of the campaign.
Bale has only made over 30 league appearances in one season during his time in Madrid.
At his best, the forward can be devastating. He hit a speed of over 35km per hour as he raced through to score against Real Sociedad last weekend.
He and the club need to find a way to ensure he’s able to perform at his best more regularly.
Tweak his Game
Bale is one of the most talented players in world football. But in his absence last season, Isco’s superb displays led to Madrid adopting more of a possession-based approach.
The former Tottenham Hotspur ace is at his best with space to run into. Madrid build play up more slowly now, which can deny him that room.
The Madrid faithful adore Isco, an elegant playmaker who deserves to keep his place in the side. Young hotshot Marco Asensio is also pushing for a starting spot. That means Bale needs to adapt.
He has the skill and touch needed to create space for himself in tight areas. And he’ll still be a potent weapon on the break, as demonstrated against Sociedad.
Deliver in the Big Games
The one thing that will certainly endear him to the club’s fans is goals.
After scoring in the Champions League and Copa del Rey finals in his first year at the club, he’s not been as potent in important matches since then.
Bale didn’t score a single goal on Real’s route to winning the Champions League in 2015-16.
His two goals in last year’s successful defence both came in the group stage.
He’s also yet to score against Barcelona in La Liga.
Madrid are 7/2 favourites to win the Champions League for a record third successive year. If Bale delivers on the big stages, the crowd will be singing his name again.
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