Athletes by Conrad Hoyt July 23, 2019
This summer has reminded us that American sports aren’t the only ones where controversy floats around during the offseason. Soccer, clearly the world’s most wide and far-reaching sport, has some headlines of its own.
Gareth Bale has been at Real Madrid since 2013, but now, it seems his time at the Spanish club is set to end.
Zinedine Zidane, manager of Real Madrid, said he hopes Bale will leave the club soon, in a flurry of comments that threw a lot of people the wrong way as players and fans lobbied in support of Bale.
All going off at @realmadriden today. Brutal comments from Zidane, what’s your opinion on his treatment of Bale. Is it justified or completely out of order. #Bale #HalaMadrid
— Talk Football (@TalkFooty_TF) July 21, 2019
Bale is a talented, amazingly-quick, left-footed winger with a great touch and presence in the air. He played for the Tottenham Hotspurs before moving to Real Madrid, and also plays for the Welsh National Team. Bale worked very well on the opposite side of Cristiano Ronaldo at Real when Ronaldo was still at the club.
Both players were quick and highly-skilled and could get by defenders to either shoot or whip balls into the box. But Ronaldo is no longer on the Spanish super team, and Zidane seems primed to make tactical changes after many summer signings.
Zidane was made manager in 2016 and won the UEFA Champions League all three years as the manager. He left in 2018, citing that the club needed a change, but after a poor 2018/19 season, he was reinstated as manager and looks to change the direction of the club.
For a club as big as Real, anything other than winning the La Liga Title or UEFA Champions League is a failure, and last season, Real didn’t even come close to winning.
Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid in 2018 after being there since 2009. Coinciding with Zidane’s exit, Madrid was forced to move on a new path. But this past season was a failure.
It was such a failure that Zidane had to come back to save the day. Thus, giving himself a chance to further his legacy.
As forementioned, Real spent big money this summer. They copped Belgian superstar forward Eden Hazard, Serbian striker Luka Jovic, and French defender Ferland Mendy, amongst many others. Although their last season was buns Real already had a stacked squad, and they had the money to spend.
After all, they are the most valuable club in the world.
Zidane is a Real Madrid legend himself, and some of his former teammates such as David Beckham described him as the greatest footballer ever. He was a central midfielder, and in that position, he was able to impact all aspects of the game. He was known for making everyone around him better. A talent that can be hard to quantify.
With Ronaldo on the squad for almost all the years Bale was there, Bale was admittedly overshadowed. Real achieved so much success, and Ronaldo was rightfully the frontman on all of those teams.
But Bale has by no measure been a bust of signing, in fact, quite the opposite. This is how his numbers stack up against Zidane’s.
In 2018, he scored possibly the most magnificent goal ever in a Champions League Final.
He has shown up in big games and doesn’t warrant the disrespect shown to him by Zidane. I don’t believe Zidane meant to be as disrespectful as he was in his comments, and if he had a chance to do it over again, he would.
For a man that is famous for head butting an opposing player in the 2006 World Cup Final, Zidane has long been loved by his teammates and players. But Bale has helped Real immensely in his six seasons with the club, and deserves, at least, a “thank you.”
More than that, he deserves an in-depth talk with Zidane about where he would like to go before he moves on to a new team. It is fine if Zidane does not see Bale in the future of Real Madrid, but there was a better way to go about requesting Bale leave.
If this is the end for Bale at Real Madrid, which it surely looks like, I hope all Real Madrid fans can appreciate what he did for the club. For sure Real’s fans will remember his glorious decade on the squad.