The axe has finally fallen at the Santiago Bernabéu as manager Julen Lopetegui has finally been cut loose. The Spaniard’s ill-fated reign at Real Madrid ended after just 10 games as the club sits uncomfortably in ninth-place in La Liga. Unfortunately for Lopetegui, the manager usually takes the blame when things don’t work out. But the fact remains that the players were as guilty about the situation at the club as the manager. One of such is Gareth Bale.
The Welshman’s time at the club has been hindered by injuries. But he has also contributed to the club’s success in the last three seasons. His goals in two of Madrid’s last three Champions League finals were instrumental to the wins. Yet, there is no running away from the fact that Bale’s time at the club has been far from what was expected.
When the famous Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar partnership ruled Spain and Europe under then Barcelona manager Luis Enrique that was nicknamed MSN, Real Madrid countered with the Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo combination named BBC. Unfortunately, the combination ended up being more about the Portuguese star. Ronaldo single-handedly took them to the Champions League final in each of the last three seasons by emerging as the competition’s top scorer. Bale was either out injured or out of form as he recovered. That accounts for why he had very limited outings during Zinedine Zidane’s time.
There were speculations the player was on his way out of the club after the French manager left. But he decided to stay on under Lopetegui. With the manager now gone, it may be time for the 29-year-old to also leave the club. Bale is the star player for Wales. But most times, he is barely noticeable when playing for Madrid. When Ronaldo left for Juventus, he was tipped to be the man to step up and become the club’s star man. But that has been far from the case as the club is struggling.
There have been calls for the club to sign a replacement for its former talisman. Players like Neymar and Eden Hazard have been linked with the Santiago Bernabeu in recent times. But for a club that has eight first team starters (including Bale) nominated for the Ballon d’Or award, it is clear that the players have not pulled their weight. It has now become clear that the team needs players that are fit, hungry and ready to work.
Since moving to Spain, the former Tottenham forward has shared his time between the pitch and the treatment table. And there seems to be no end in sight to that pattern. For a side that needs renewed motivation after achieving so much on the continent in the last three seasons winning the Champions League back-to-back-to-back, players like Bale need to give way for new recruitments.
It is therefore important that the incoming manager should look to build a new look side that can start on a clean slate. There is a need for players with renewed determination to write their own names in the history of the club. In the light of that, several of the current first team players in the club at the moment need to so. One of such is Gareth Bale.