Jorge Valdano Is Wrong About the Impact Gareth Bale Is Having at Real Madrid

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Chief Writer IVOctober 19, 2016

Real's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, celebrates his goal with teammate Gareth Bale during a semifinal, 2nd leg, Copa del Rey soccer match between Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

You get a lot of former football figures who fade into the woodwork.

After their time is up in the game, they take lesser roles or leave the sport completely.

Former Real Madrid player, manager and director general Jorge Valdano is an example.

After he left the club for good, sacked in 2011, he's been on the outskirts of football.

But occasionally he sticks his head above the parapet and comes out with a remark to remind us all that he's still here.

Valdano has spoken about Madrid star Gareth Bale. He has claimed that the Welshman is anxious, distracted, downcast and frequently rescued by his team-mates.

He said, as reported by ESPN:

Bale has a strange anxiety because you do not notice it in the intensity of play. When someone is anxious, they play at a speed above what suits them, but it is like he is somewhere else. That is the strange sensation you get from him. The team are saving him. There are so many points to consider, among them Jese who is drawing so much attention. I suppose it comes from his lack of regular games and the injuries. And also from being so closely observed because of what was paid for him. We have not yet seen the true Bale. You see he looks a bit unhappy at the moment. He looks a bit downcast.

His comments are reminiscent of those from former Barcelona assistant coach Angel Cappa about Lionel Messi. Cappa had told La Xarxa, as we reported: "I couldn’t understand how a player could play football so dispassionately.

Lionel Messi has also come in for criticism.
Lionel Messi has also come in for criticism.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

"And especially him, because if we look at a game of his from three or four years ago, there was that craziness, that passion that he had for playing."

Both men knew they would make headlines by critcising two of the most famous players in the world.

But if we are to take Valdano's claims about Bale at face value, ignoring the idea that he spoke about Bale purely to gain some attention, then he is still wrong, for the most part.

Carlo Ancelotti’s world-record signing is by no means in his very best form, but it’s part of a natural adjustment curve that most players take when moving to a new league.

The Mirror have Bale down as scoring 11 and assisting 10 goals in his 25 Real Madrid appearances, which, even if he’s not been at his finest, is still an admirable total.

Valdano, who played 120 times for Madrid, knows what it takes to become a Los Blancos star and his praise of Jese is fair.

The young Spanish striker has eased some of the pressure on the side, helping to cover Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence through suspension.

He has scored four La Liga goals in his last seven matches, compared to Bale’s two.

But Real Madrid’s form has been good since the turn of the year, and Bale has been pulling his weight as part of the side.

Really? Valdano insinuated that Bale is being carried.
Really? Valdano insinuated that Bale is being carried.Denis Doyle/Getty Images

To say that the 24-year-old is being carried by the team simply doesn’t level with the performances we are seeing.

That said, in the club’s 3-0 win against Getafe last week, Bale did not play well, and manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted that the £86 million man lacked “quality,” but had “quantity,” as reported by Marca.

To use that game as a barometer for how he’s fared so far would be harsh, and it would be a knee-jerk reaction to lambast him for it.

The biggest problem Bale has had since arriving in Spain are his injuries.

Bale has, according to the International Business Times, suffered five injuries since joining, which has led to him missing 12 games.

However, if he can keep clear of any more knocks, he could be in for an excellent end to the season given the amount of rest he has had.

Valdano is right in that La Liga is yet to see the very best of Bale, but he’s not doing the Welshman justice with his verdict.


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