Sunday, October 27, 2013

Does Gareth need baled out?

Whilst it would be completely premature to suggest that Gareth Bale has flopped at Real Madrid, what is entirely apparent however is that he is struggling so far and struggling badly.

One could argue none of this is Bale's fault. He did not after all decide the transfer fee, he is not choosing to be unfit or for his body to be letting him down and he is probably not asking to play whilst he is in that condition. He also has presumably not asked to be played out of position as he was in his first 'El Classico'.

One could also argue that (so far) much of this is Bale's fault. After all, when he effectively held Daniel Levy's feet to the fire by refusing to train at Spurs, knowing Levy's reputation and track record, what other outcome than a world record transfer fee did he think would occur?

One could also argue that a player who relies on pace and power and has a patchy fitness record should probably have felt that turning up for training early in the season might be a good idea knowing that the expectation at Madrid would be enormous and hitting the ground running was important.

Again, one could argue that going to arguably the biggest club in the world with one of the finest players ever (with an ego to match) already playing in your position might mean that you may have to be ready to be shoe horned in to the team wherever you can get a game.

Bale remains an extremely good player and he will get better - he is too good not to - for sure but for 100M Euros, far better performances are expected especially when you are playing Barcelona.

Whilst it wasn't a particularly outstanding game, the big players all showed up. For Real, Ronaldo was full of purpose if left very frustrated. For Barca, Messi eventually drifted out of the game but his presence on the pitch was still felt and Neymar who cost half what Bale did scored the opening goal and looked lively all night.

Bale looked hopelessly unfit and whilst it is Ancelotti (or Perez?) that chose to play an unfit player out of position at centre forward, Bale was a passenger until the oft maligned Karim Benzema replaced him and made a far greater impact immediately crashing a shot against the bar.

Of course it is unlikely that Ancelotti asked for Bale, it was a typical Perez move with little thought for the balance of the team and given the fee there was certainly huge pressure to play him last night.

Arsenal are revelling in the performances of Ozil who cost less than half his fee. Ozil provided the finesse to compliment Ronaldo's pace and power, without his assists Ronaldo is also finding things tougher.

Forwards in particular thrive from confidence and Bale's may start to wane especially with Madrid now off the pace in a league where any lost points can mean the end of your campaign prematurely. The white handkerchiefs can come out very quickly at the Bernabeau especially if they are lagging Barcelona which again they now are.

Ancelotti and Madrid need to quickly get Bale fit and find a system that gives him a platform to show off his immense talents. Bale of course did score in his first game and managed to win an iffy penalty at least the previous week. He needs to do far far more however if this is not to be a season to forget at Real.

Regardless it may be that it will be next season before Madrid really see the best of Bale as there are other issues such as language and a new country to settle into. It may take even longer if it proves he cannot play with Ronaldo, there should be no reason why it can't work but one would suspect that Ronaldo does not with to share the stage with anyone.

No one should blame Bale for chasing his dream and the ambition he has shown to prove himself abroad for arguably the world's biggest club is admirable. For that reason alone we wish him well - No Nonsense.