Untold Story – A sportsnasha exclusive
The nominees for the 2017 Ballon d’Or have been recently revealed. One of the big omission from the list is Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale. Recently he has been sidelined with calf injury, and date of his return is yet to be known. Gareth Bale’s persistent injury problems are showing no signs of improvement. He also missed large part of previous season due to injuries. Along with his persistent injury problems, his poor form is also a worrying factor for Real Madrid. He is often booed by Real Madrid fans for his poor form, and lot of people want him to leave the club. Apart from his first season Bale has struggled at Madrid. Let’s have a look for some of the reasons for Bale’s poor performance.
1. Change in the league-
Those who have seen Bale at Tottenham will remember him for his outstanding pace, ability to go past 2-3 players easily and clinical finishing. Premier League is different from La Liga, in England teams often play more direct and open game. In La Liga game is more possession based and little slow, which does not suit Bale. His game is more suited for Premier League, where tempo of the game is very fast. Bale often lacks space to run behind the defence due to the slow tempo of La liga i.e his pace is not completely utilised.
2. Presence of Cristiano Ronaldo-
Ronaldo is the most important player for Real Madrid. He is their prolific goalscorer, star player and his presence certainly affects Bale. While attacking Madrid players purposely look for Ronaldo, sometimes ignoring other forwards. On other hand Bale’s preferred position is on the left wing, which is mostly occupied by Ronaldo. Bale himself playes unselfishly most of the time, providing assists to Ronaldo in final third instead of going for glory himself.
3. Persistent injury problems-
Since arriving at Real Madrid in 2013, Bale has been injured 17 times. Bale went through a growth spurt from the age of 14 to 16, which knocked his back out of alignment and affected his mobility. A month after he joined Madrid, Marca ran a front page story on his troublesome back. The paper claimed Bale had a slipped disc on his L5-S1 vertebrae and a bulge on L4-L5 , which would require corrective surgery. Juan Muro Zabaleta, who has worked as a Real Madrid physio, says that 50 percent of Bale’s injury problems are because of his back.
4. Rise of other players-
In the absence of Bale, players like Isco and Asensio played vital role for Madrid. Spanish media is continuously putting pressure on manager Zidane to give Isco and Asensio more playing time. Both of them are more consistent than Bale and are hugely talented. It certainly makes life difficult for Bale as he is not guaranteed a place in starting eleven.
By Mayur Paranjpe for sportsnasha