Despite his world record $132 million transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Spanish giants Real Madrid, Welsh international Gareth Bale may have to bide his time to become a starter at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Bale, 24, was paraded in front of over 20,000 fans in Madrid on Monday after sealing his move from Spurs on the eve of the transfer deadline.
And as the newest Galactico gets used to the razzmatazz and rigmarole of playing for one of the world’s biggest teams, Bale could struggle to get into the staring lineup to begin with.
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“There’s a lot of competition for places – no-one will be guaranteed anything,” Real Madrid assistant coach Paul Clement said. “Coach Carlo Ancelotti has a clear idea how to use him but things can change.”
So, is this for real?
Can Madrid really go out and buy a player they’ve chased all summer-long and spent a world record amount of money on to then tell him, ‘Sorry Gareth, your on the bench today. Chin up.’
I find it hard to believe that will be the case.
Let’s look at the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Okay, Messi came through Barcelona’s academy so they didn’t pay anything for him but once he established himself, there’s no way he doesn’t start unless he’s injured. And after Real broke the transfer record last time out to buy Ronaldo from Manchester United, $124 million back in 2009, he hasn’t been dropped through lack of form and is a starter no matter what.
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Even though Messi and Ronaldo are two of the greatest players this planet has ever seen, they have off days. But they’ve never really been lambasted or substituted if it’s not happening. They have a free pass as they’re the difference makers and are left on the pitch in the hope they can change the game in an instant, as they often do. Bale will be treated the same.
Clement’s role as an assistant coach is to look out for all the players interests in the Real squad and to try and keep everyone happy. Plenty of superstars will see Bale’s arrival threaten the number of minutes they get in a Real Madrid shirt. So I understand what he’s saying, no one player can be treated differently. But Ronaldo already is at Real and they will treat Bale in a similar manner. He’s too valuable not to play, both monetarily and in terms of the game-changing moments he can provide.
Expect to see both Bale and Ronaldo start every single week for Madrid. No matter how well they’re playing. Right?