After being constantly sidelined by injuries, Gareth Bale’s future in Madrid might have never been more uncertain.
Bale has been dealing with injuries his entire career. From Southampton to Madrid, he hasn’t gone a single season without missing games due to physical problems.
Gareth Bale’s Future is Uncertain
In the last five years, Bale missed 95 games and suffered 19 injuries. Those are significant numbers considering his price tag. The Madrid board and fans expected a lot more from the sixth most expensive player in football history.
The Welshman’s constant absence created the need to adapt Madrid’s playing style. Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benítez secured his first-team status and played him whenever he was fit. His current manager, Zinedine Zidane, on the other hand, saw Isco as a viable option to replace him.
As Bale kept suffering from physical problems, Isco started to gain the manager’s trust and established himself in the starting line-up. The former Tottenham star became a mere substitute among the Real Madrid stars.
There’s Still Hope
Whether that scenario is going to change depends on Bale and Zidane.
Bale needs to gain Zidane’s trust back and prove himself to the fans once again. However, that’s only possible if he manages to stay fit for a long period of time.
There’s no denying Bale is one of the best players in the world when fit. After playing only 24 games in La Liga this season, he has scored 15 goals (average of 0.6 goals per game). At this rate, he would have scored 22 goals in the whole season.
In the Champions League, Bale has played only six games but still manage to score one and assist two, helping Madrid on their way to the final.
Players like Isco, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vázquez have been ahead of him in the pecking order despite not being as decisive as he has. Bale’s 15 La Liga goals outnumber Isco’s (28 games) and Asensio’s (31 games) combined 13 goals contribution, while Vázquez scored only four in 31 appearances.
That shows that Zidane rates more consistency over performance.
Having only two games left to finish the season and one of them being the UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool, a good performance and good numbers might not be enough to convince the Frenchman that he deserves to stay in Madrid.
Zidane is yet to decide if Bale is going to stay but at the end of the day, he’s the one to make this call.
New Manager, New Hope
Even after winning back-to-back Champions League titles, there’s no guarantee that Zidane will stay on as Real Madrid’s manager next season and that could be a silver lining for Bale.
If Zidane doesn’t retain his position, the scenario would change drastically. The new manager might be more benevolent to Bale and give him more time to re-establish himself in the team.
In the worst-case scenario, Zidane will retain his position and Bale will be heading for the door. Some might see his exit as a step-down, but it might just be a step forward. Bale desperately needs to recover his form and his confidence. Playing elsewhere could provide just the spur he desires.
A return to England could be in order if he ends up leaving Madrid but, above all, he wants to stay.