Gareth Bale: Back to Blighty?

Gareth Bale is in his second season as a Galáctico and has already won both the Champions League and Copa del Rey. However, is it time for him to leave Real Madrid and return to the Premier League?

It all started so promisingly for the Welshman. A dream move to arguably the biggest team in the world. A world record transfer fee. Joining a team of superstars and competing in the Champions League. A reported salary of £300,ooo a WEEK. Life could be harder. So where has it gone wrong for him?

When Bale joined Real Madrid, it was obvious that he would would not be the main man. At Tottenham Hotspur, Bale was the heartbeat of the team. He did everything; taking free kicks, corners and penalties. Everything went through him. He was responsible for being the main focal point of any attack. It was even reported that some team talks consisted of “Give it to Gareth and he’ll do the rest”.

However, his time at the Santiago Bernabéu has been completely different. Bale has joined a team of superstars, proven winners at the highest level. He is no longer the main man of the team, where his talents can be used to their full potential. No one superstar is bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo is without doubt one of the greatest players of all time. So what is it like playing with him? This season reports in the Spanish media suggested that there had been a falling out between Bale and Ronaldo. This was further compounded by video footage of Ronaldo castigating Bale after having failed to pass to him. This would never have happened at Spurs, where he was used to scoring goals for fun and not being rebuked by team mates.

This is where it started to go wrong for Bale. He was openly criticised in the press, probably for the first time in his career. Fan’s jeered him on and off the pitch, even going so far as to attack his car when leaving the ground. All of this must have taken a toll on his confidence, like suddenly realising that you are a human being and not invincible.

The lowest point must have been the dismal display against Juventus in the Champions League semi-final. Deployed as a centre forward next to Ronaldo, Bale was anonymous and hardly got a look in. It wasn’t solely being played out of position that was the problem; he looked bereft of confidence. Normally, viewers are used to seeing him run at defenders with his raw pace, gliding by them without effort. He seems to lack that part of his game at the moment and it just shows how big a part confidence has to play.

So what can be done about it? Can he recapture his form and continue in the rich vein of form we saw in his first season in the Spanish capital? Unfortunately, it seems that too much water passed under the bridge. The fans see him as a scapegoat at the moment, something which till take a monumental swing in fortune to change.

Will he come back to English football? Manchester United have been put on red alert, reports suggesting a swap deal with sought after goalkeeper David de Gea could be a possibility. Chelsea are also rumoured to be interested in signing him. A possible partnership with Eden Hazard could be a mouthwatering proposition, but only time will tell whether Bale comes home to the Premier League.