Bale and his Welsh colleagues held up a flag emblazoned with the slogan, ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order’ after the win over Hungary. It plays on a running joke that has recently emerged, suggesting that Los Blancos are not high on the player’s list of priorities – kickstarted by comments made on radio by Pedja Mijatovic at the end of October.
It has even given life to a fan chant proudly sung by Welsh supporters, one that Bale himself has even admitted he finds amusing.
Bale was criticised in Madrid when he was declared fit for the international break, having missed Real’s last six games in all competitions because of injury. But the player himself had earlier insisted he will always play, whether it be for club or country, if he is fit and able.
It just so happened that the timing of his return on this occasion coincided with the international break instead of a club fixture.
Immediately after the ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid.’ celebrations, Marca accused Bale of trolling Real.
Others were at it too. Even Catalan-based outlets that one might think would find it hilarious for Real Madrid to be embarrassed in front of a global audience seemed to slate Bale.
Now, Marca has kept it going by plastering the image of Bale, his teammates and that flag on their front page on Thursday – bear in mind the game was on Tuesday night, so they had already been stewing on it for a full 24 hours by the time the edition went to print.
The headline read, ‘Disrespectful, misguided, ungrateful. In that order.’
It seems as though it really struck a nerve in the Spanish capital.
Bale appeared to have already reached the end of the road in Madrid anyway, but a long-term future in the all-white kit beyond his current six-year spell seems increasingly unlikely.
90min has learned this week that a move to former club Tottenham could be on the cards as the north London will back new manager Jose Mourinho if he wants to pursue Bale.
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