Latest press attacks on Gareth Bale are pathetic and dangerous

Opinion – The Madrid media are at it again with their out-of-proportion criticism of Gareth Bale.

In the latest Marca column, Bale is likened to – and illustrated as – a parasite, who shows ‘disrespect for those he lives off’.

The latest storm has arrived on the back of Bale dropping out of Real Madrid‘s El Clásico squad ahead of linking up with the Wales squad, starting tonight’s World Cup qualifying playoff semi-final with Austria.

The wounds were relatively fresh because – amid an already complicated relationship with Real Madrid – Bale spent much of the season injured before returning just in time to help Wales secure a playoff spot in November.

He then picked up another injury during his international performance which kept him out until the new year.

And so the frustration on Real Madrid’s part is understandable, but there is further context to keep in mind.

After returning in late January, Bale found himself on the bench for the entirety of the first two games that he was fit for.

Amid an injury crisis up top, he was then thrust in – out of position – up front and did a good job against Villarreal, albeit in a 0-0 draw.

After the bright performance, Bale was placed on the bench for the next game and kept there for the full 90 minutes.

He missed the subsequent game with a knock, but was once again an unused substitute for the next two games, against Real Sociedad and Mallorca.

The game after that was the Clásico clash with Barcelona that he dropped out of.

And let’s be realistic. Fit or not, Carlo Ancelotti was not going to use Bale in any capacity during that game.

At this stage, whether it comes down to trust from Ancelotti or instructions from above, Real Madrid do not want to use Bale unless they have to.

It feels very much like a nasty divorce that is going to be dragged out until the end of the season, when Bale will become a free agent.

Bale has been mostly left on the bench when fit

But the point here is that Real Madrid are quite clearly not giving Bale fair treatment.

It is their prerogative if they wish not to play him, but it’s far from the fairest way to deal with this situation.

Meanwhile, we don’t know if Bale was injured for the Barcelona game or just saving himself for a huge game for Wales, but let’s assume the worst and say it was the latter.

Why is it that clubs can treat players – and human beings, by the way – however they want, while, if a player responds with an action or two of their own, it is disrespectful?

You cannot have it one way and not the other.

And while we are discussing respect. Let’s come back to that parasite characterisation.

Real Madrid may well pay Bale a huge amount of money, but they do so as a reward for what he has brought the club.

The Welshman has played a huge role in Los Blancos’ Champions League dominance over recent years, winning four during his time at the club, also winning two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey and a host of other honours.

His success during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu would be looked upon as legendary had this situation not gone as sourly as it has.

Has Bale helped himself? No. There are certainly situations he and his agent could have managed better to avoid this relationship reaching the point it has.

But when this player was the difference-maker in many of the 16 titles this giant club has won during his time at the club, parasitic comparisons should be out of question.

Bale will go down in history at Real Madrid, whether the Madrid media like it or not, and regardless of how sour this relationship has become and regardless of whether it is now time for both parties to move on, he deserves respect for what he has achieved in the Spanish capital.

And we can put all of this aside to boil the argument down to a very simple one.

No one should be called a parasite without causing harm or committing a crime. There are enough wrongdoers in the world to target without bullying a footballer for being paid what his employer agreed to pay him as part of a lawful contract.

In an age where we like to think we are more conscious of mental health, we, the media, must take responsibility and do better than publishing stories that outright bully a human being.

Tags Gareth Bale Real Madrid Wales

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