He’s won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid and scored over a hundred goals for the club. But Gareth Bale is facing a backlash from the club’s fans after celebrating with a flag that suggests he prefers appearing for Wales and playing golf ahead of starring for Real.
After helping Wales secure qualification to Euro 2020 on Tuesday – Bale assisted the first of Aaron Ramsey’s two goals in the 2-0 win over Hungary – the Real star and his Welsh teammates then celebrated on the pitch, with the flag in question joining them.
That hasn’t gone down well with some Real fans and pundits.
Madrid Sports, a Real Madrid fan page with 108,000 followers, called Bale’s actions “unforgivable” and demanded the club cancel his contract.
Spanish TV host Josep Pedrerol also weighed in, arguing Bale’s time in Madrid is up.
Meanwhile Radio Marca ran a poll asking fans whether Bale should leave Real Madrid following the celebrations – 65% of the people that voted said he should go
Bale’s passion for golf has been a heated topic for discussion for the Spanish media, with newspaper AS using the headline “Triple Bogey” to describe his love for the sport.
When asked about the criticism aimed at him in Spain, Bale said: “I’ve heard some stories but I don’t really take notice.
“My friends tend to send me some funny pictures or whatever they write.
“I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me. On one, it said ‘triple bogey’ and I’ve never had a triple bogey! At least give me an albatross! It’s funny.”
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Former Real player and now Cadena Ser analyst Pedja Mijatovic recently said: “I think Bale is a very particular kind of person … the first thing he thinks about is Wales, then golf and after that, Real Madrid.”
Subsequently Welsh fans immortalized Mijatovic’s words on a flag, which reads, “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order,” and devised a chant along similar lines.
Bale heard the song in Wales’ 2-0 win over Azerbaijan last week, and admitted the song is a “good bit of fun.”
Over the last few months Bale has endured a testy relationship with Real coach Zinedine Zidane.
During the summer Zidane said that Bale’s departure from the Spanish capital was “very close” and would be “a good thing for everyone.”
But Bale stayed and Zidane’s comments were met with derision by the player’s agent who called Zidane a “disgrace,” saying he had shown “no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid.”
Bale has not featured for Real Madrid since October 5, after picking up a calf injury during the previous international break.
He played 60 minutes of Wales’ win in Azerbaijan and 88 minutes in Cardiff on Tuesday.