After nearly being sold to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning this summer before Real Madrid blocked the move at the last minute, Gareth Bale is playing again at the Spanish giants.
But that doesn’t mean he’s happy again. Far from it.
The 30-year-old admitted he’s excited to be a regular contributor again, but his mental state is still struggling.
“I’m very surprised because I think everyone knows where things were at in terms of me going,” Bale said about the transfer possibilities this summer, speaking to reporters while on duty with the Welsh national team. “In football anything is possible. It’s a crazy sport and it’s one of those things that happens that not many people can explain but one or two can.
“I wouldn’t say I’m playing happy but I’m playing now. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more turbulence. Internally we have spoken and things are what they are. I’m professional, I keep my head down.”
Real Madrid struggled last season en route to a third-place finish in La Liga and an exit from the Champions League in the Round of 16, and after a calf injury sidelined Bale for most of January, he returned to just a bench role for the remainder of the season. He admitted that was what drove him to seek an exit this past summer.
“I understand that I’m made more of a scapegoat than most, I take it with a pinch of salt even though maybe it’s not all fully fair,” Bale said. “Towards the end of last season was difficult, there is no denying that, not just for me but for the team. The situation has now changed, U-turned.”
This season, Bale has started all three of Real Madrid’s league matches thus far, scoring a brace in the recent 2-2 draw with Villareal. It’s more difficult to blame Bale for the early struggles this season given the defensive woes, with the club unable to keep a clean sheet through three matches.
Still, Bale stopped short of revealing any details of what happened this summer or the conversations he had with manager Zinedine Zidane, wanting to keep a professional relationship. “The things that happened will stay private with the club. If you want answers, maybe you need to ask Real Madrid. It’s between me and them, and we will have to come to some sort of conclusion. I know there was a lot of talk with everybody saying good, bad, whatever they wanted. I don’t listen to anyone because they don’t really know what they are on about. Most people don’t know and understand the situation. It didn’t impact on me too much. I had a great summer holiday and didn’t really think about it too much.”