“ A smattering of whistles broke out around the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday as Gareth Bale prepared to enter the Clasico stage at 1-0 down. His mission, with less than 30 minutes left on the clock, was to try to score the goal that would keep Real Madrid’s hopes of reaching the Copa del Rey final alive.
4 Bale was booed by some of hos own supporters as he came on against Barcelona Yet the Welshman had only been on the pitch for seconds when Barcelona had the ball in the back of the net again, Raphael Varane deflecting an Ousmane Dembele cross past Keylor Navas. Barca’s third followed shortly after, Luis Suarez chipping Navas from the penalty spot and leaving Madrid with an insurmountable mountain. | GOAL! | Siri, show me the perfect panenka… ?? Luis Suarez makes it 3-0 to Barcelona! #ElClasico pic.twitter.com/HX3gY0NZv8 — Eleven Sports (@ElevenSports_UK) February 27, 2019 /**/ /**/ This time there was no genuine opportunity to be the hero and change the big game, as Bale so often has over the last six years in the Spanish capital.
In hindsight, it is tempting to imagine whether he could have helped Madrid avoid a cup exit from a starting spot, rather than being reduced to a cameo. That starting spot wasn’t afforded because coach Santiago Solari would rather not take the tactical risk. Bale’s lack of defensive assistance has hurt Madrid in some games this season, his passiveness most obviously exemplified in their embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Eibar back in November.1xbet mobile
LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS gossip Man United news live: Dutch ace wanted as new right-back, West Ham star on radar gossip Liverpool news live: Salah ‘rejects ?150million exit’, Ajax set Ziyech price latest Man United target Dutch defender, Spurs to sell Rose and sign Sessegnon review Women’s World Cup: Netherlands breeze past Cameroon, Canada beat hapless New Zealand gesture Amazing reason Marta pointed to her boots after scoring opener for Brazil royal return AC Milan appoint club legends Boban and Maldini in new roles at the club ‘i was fed up’ The reason why Chelsea midfielder Jorginho nearly quit football latest Arsenal transfer news live: Top target ‘not for sale’, Ziyech to cost just ?30m GOING NOWHERE Bournemouth send firm response to Arsenal over Ryan Fraser interest London bound? Arsenal target Dennis Praet agent confirms interest in player CLINICAL Miedema nets brace to become Netherlands’ record scorer in Cameroon win STAYING PUT Gonzalo Higuain will see out his contract at Juventus, agent confirms Solari persisted with the superstar for a few more matches, but since the turn of the year his preference has become clear.
The Argentine has thrown his weight behind the hard work of Lucas Vazquez rather than the erratic talent of Bale, even if it means less cutting edge up front. The consequences of that trade-off were clear against Barca. While Lucas could often be seen back in his own third, robbing the ball from the visitors in a manner that Madrid’s number 11 would not, equally, he caused no real danger at the other end.
When a cutting ball was played over Barca’s backline in the 21st minute for example, Jordi Alba was no doubt delighted to face the far more beatable Galician rather than the pace and acceleration of Bale. Barcelona’s left-back swept up comfortably.
Getty 4 Since joining Real Madrid from Tottenham in 2013, Bale has won four Champions Leagues with the club and scored important goals in the finals When minutes later, a ball broke to Lucas in the Blaugrana box with goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen caught in no-man’s land, the winger lacked killer instinct and wasn’t on his toes, where Bale would surely have buried it. Ironically enough, when Barca finally scored their first goal of the night, it came down Madrid’s right side regardless – the side Bale is seen to weaken, remember.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Clark_(footballer)
Which brings us to the whistles, the fruitless cameo, and the latest sad chapter in what now looks like a prolonged, inevitable and sad exit for a man who has helped extend his club’s European Cup count by four. The relationship between Bale and Madrid’s fans increasingly appears broken. His body language and gestures on the pitch suggest the relationship between him and some of his colleagues is too.
4 Despite scoring Real’s winner against Levante, Bale appeared angry and shrugged off his own team-mates as they tried to celebrate with him Colleagues have been conspicuously quiet as a nasty media campaign against him in the Spanish press picks up pace. No longer the “Cardiff express”, it’s now “The Golfer” and he must find the silence deafening as snipes come thick and fast.
Someone who has scored as many big goals in finals as the Welshman could be forgiven for wanting more support. Bale the Real deal LaLiga x1 Copa del Rey x1 Champions League x4 Club WorldCup x3 Yet at the same time it isn’t truly surprising. Despite his contribution in goals, trophies, and more than half a decade of service, Bale has never really managed to become universally loved by Madrid fans (and in recent years at least, the media).
His time at the Bernabeu is a contradiction: in the present it is marked by a sensation that someone of his ability could have done more. In the future, when the details become blurred and the trophy haul is all that matters, it will surely be considered a success. 4 Rumours that Bale’s six years at Real Madrid will come to an end this summer have been rife There have been murmurs of an exit before of course, but this time feels different. More definitive.
By now, parting ways feels like the best outcome for all parties. For Madrid fans, it will perhaps provide the perspective needed to appreciate the amount of silverware €105m bought them. An apparently huge price at the time, but one that ended the painful wait for La Decima, then helped that snowball roll into three more Champions Leagues. For Bale, a new challenge may be what is needed to help him enjoy football again.
He certainly doesn’t look like someone enjoying football at the moment, and that’s a shame. “ “ Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling has been named Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year the day after picking up the PFA’s Young Player award. Sterling has enjoyed a fine season for Pep Guardiola’s title chasers, with his 17 Premier League goals and 12 assists firing City to within two games of winning successive league championships.
2 Raheem Sterling is widely regarded as one of the Premier League’s best, and most important, players He has also emerged as a key figure in football’s fight against racism, highlighting the bias against black footballers in the wake of being racially abused during a visit to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home last December. The former Liverpool forward, 24, becomes the fourth Manchester City player to win the FWA award, after Don Revie in 1954/55, Bert Trautmann the following season, and Tony Book, who shared the award with Derby’s Dave Mackay in 1968/69.
LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS gossip Man United news live: Dutch ace wanted as new right-back, West Ham star on radar gossip Liverpool news live: Salah ‘rejects ?150million exit’, Ajax set Ziyech price latest Man United target Dutch defender, Spurs to sell Rose and sign Sessegnon review Women’s World Cup: Netherlands breeze past Cameroon, Canada beat hapless New Zealand gesture Amazing reason Marta pointed to her boots after scoring opener for Brazil royal return AC Milan appoint club legends Boban and Maldini in new roles at the club ‘i was fed up’ The reason why Chelsea midfielder Jorginho nearly quit football latest Arsenal transfer news live: Top target ‘not for sale’, Ziyech to cost just ?30m GOING NOWHERE Bournemouth send firm response to Arsenal over Ryan Fraser interest London bound? Arsenal target Dennis Praet agent confirms interest in player CLINICAL Miedema nets brace to become Netherlands’ record scorer in Cameroon win STAYING PUT Gonzalo Higuain will see out his contract at Juventus, agent confirms Sterling topped the poll of the 400-strong FWA members with 62 per cent, which was 100 more votes than the runner up, Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk.
Van Dijk was on Sunday crowned PFA Player of the Year. Sterling’s Man City team-mate Sergio Aguero was in third place. Newly-elected FWA Chair Carrie Brown said: “Raheem Sterling is a player of style and a man of substance. “More than 70 years ago Charles Buchan, one of the founding fathers of the Footballer Writers’ Association, suggested there be an award presented to the player who by “precept and example” is considered the Footballer of the Year. “Raheem Sterling is an exemplar of the talent and values our founding fathers sought to reward when they established the FWA in 1947.
LIVE ON talkSPORT talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here’s what’s coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2… Millwall vs Bristol City (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2 Swansea vs Derby (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2 Barcelona vs Liverpool (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT Eintracht Frankfurt vs Chelsea (Thursday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2 West Ham vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2 Cardiff vs Crystal Palace (Saturday 5:30pm) – talkSPORT “To have been voted the 2019 Footballer of the Year by our members, and with such an overwhelming majority, clearly acknowledges the contribution from a player over one season but it also recognises the huge impact of Raheem’s courage to challenge preconceptions and fight racism, which will leave a legacy not just for future generations in football but society as a whole.
Eyes have been opened, voices found, we are listening and will be at the forefront of the continued drive for equality. “On the pitch, Raheem has evolved into one of the most dangerous forwards in the world. A player long admired for his tactical intelligence, link-up play and quick feet has now added a devastating finish to his game.
The Manchester City forward’s Champions League opener against Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium drew comparisons with Lionel Messi’s goal against Manchester United. Are we approaching a time where Barcelona’s maestro will be forced to cast a watchful glance over his dropped shoulder at the rising star of Sterling? GETTY 2 Sterling has scored a remarkable 23 goals in all competitions this season “Raheem didn’t set out to be a leader, but he is setting examples in society and in the game which the world is following with interest. “I look forward to presenting him with the Sir Stanley Matthews Trophy on May 9.” Other players to receive votes from FWA members were Harry Kane (Tottenham), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Bernardo Silva and David Silva (both Manchester City). Sterling will be presented with the Footballer of the Year trophy, which has been awarded since 1948, at the Landmark Hotel in London on May 9 Manchester City also claimed a win in the FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year awards, with striker Nikita Parris beating Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema to the accolade. „