Bernabeu boo boys could drive Bale back

Gareth Bale must be feeling a gut-wrenching sense of déjà-vu. This time last year, he was booed for a misplaced pass against Granada. After a repeat mistake against Espanyol on Saturday the Welsh winger was again picked on.

Booing one of their own players after the mistake presents itself as extremely fickle behaviour by the Madrid fans who were probably chanting his name earlier in the match. With a key diagonal pass for the first goal, and stunning free-kick for the second, Bale made his mark on the game. Real were 2-0 up at home and cruising.

One mistake, which had no bearing on the outcome of the match, and immediately, everything done beforehand was forgotten. Even now, the discussion is not the superb free-kick he scored and the wonderful things he did on the pitch, but the one thing Bale did wrong.

Bale has been branded by some sections of the media as a bit of a ball-hog this season, often opting to go solo rather than pass the ball, especially after failing to release possession against Valencia, which caused more friction between himself and Cristiano Ronaldo. Perhaps there is some truth in that tag this season, but last year he was extremely selfless, racking up 16 assists.

Hindsight suggests that he should have passed to Ronaldo, who made evident his displeasure at being ignored. At the same time, Bale is his own player, capable of chipping in with goals and is not there just to serve Ronaldo. Few would condemn the Portuguese for going for goal had the roles been reversed.

Luka Modric was also subjected to the disheartening condemnation of the Santiago Bernabeu crowd on several occasions, during his early days at Madrid, before growing into arguably their most important midfielder. Ronaldo, Iker Casillas and even Zinedine Zidane have been booed during their time at the club.Perhaps it is a rite of passage. The very best footballers have bounced back and shown themselves to be worthy of pulling on the Blancos jersey.

But Bale could be forgiven for wondering what he needs to do to win the full support of the Madrid faithful, having scored important goals in three Cup finals. Pushing him away may not be the answer when he knows a return to England is always an available option.

If one believes the numerous transfer rumours of the past few weeks, Manchester United are prepared to offer well in excess of the €100m Real Madrid paid for him 18 months ago. Given the departure of Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria in recent seasons, selling a star player seems to be of little concern to Florentino Perez.

Perhaps Madridistas expected more of Bale, which is understandable, given his sizable price tag. But Bale has the potential to become the player they expect him to be. However, life abroad is notoriously difficult for British players, especially with the fans and the Press on his back.

Continue to chastise and undermine him, and he could soon be off home, where he will be welcomed with open arms. Be careful what you wish for Madrid fans.