It was less than a year ago that Gareth Bale scored arguably the best goal ever scored in a Champions League Final.
But things change very quickly at Real Madrid. Bale now finds himself fighting for his future, despite helping them to win Europe’s biggest club competition in four of the last five years.
He’s been criticised by his own teammates for failing to adapt to life in Spain. And he was jeered off by the Madrid support in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Barcelona.
With Santiago Solari’s side back at 9/1 to defend their European crown, can Bale turn things around before the season’s out?
It all looked so promising at the start of the campaign. After starring in the Champions League win over Liverpool, Bale was expected to become the main man.
He’d been a bit-part player towards the end of Zinedine Zidane’s reign. He’d struggled to come out of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow during his time in Spain too. But Zidane and Ronaldo both moved on in the summer. The stage was set for him.
We all know he’s got the talent. But injuries have held him back again. The swift departure of Julen Lopetegui didn’t help matters either.
He’s got 13 goals in 33 games this season. It’s a decent return, but it’s a long way from replacing Ronaldo’s heroics.
Bale isn’t the only Madrid player struggling this term. They’re well off the pace in the league and due for a big rebuild.
But with Eden Hazard 1/10 to join the La Liga giants, could Bale be sold to make way?
The fans have already started to turn on the former Tottenham Hotspur star. He’s coming up to his 30th birthday too, so this summer could be the last chance to get a decent chunk of the Wales star’s £80m price tag back.
You can’t write him off just yet though. He’s 11/10 to net against Ajax tonight. And if he can fire the club to European glory again, he’ll quickly be back in the Bernabeu’s good books.
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