Home LALIGA Gareth Bale advises Bellingham to become a ‘puppet’ at Real.

Gareth Bale advises Bellingham to become a ‘puppet’ at Real.

by James Olley
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According to former forward Gareth Bale, midfielder Jude Bellingham must consistently perform well and handle the media to avoid criticism at Real Madrid.

“The biggest advice is to perform well in matches,” Bale said on November 15 as a special guest on A League of their Own. “If you don’t play well and do what the media wants, such as handling the press and becoming a puppet, you will face difficulties at Real.”

In the summer of 2023, Bellingham joined Real Madrid for $110 million from Dortmund and was the most anticipated newcomer at the Bernabeu. The English midfielder immediately proved his worth by leading the La Liga goal-scoring charts with 10 goals, including a brace in the 2-1 comeback victory against Barcelona. He also contributed three goals and assisted in the first three Champions League group-stage matches.

Bellingham celebrates in the 2-1 away victory against Braga in the Champions League on October 25.

However, Bale believes that such goal-scoring achievements do not guarantee Bellingham will escape criticism from the Spanish media. The Welsh football legend also advises his younger counterpart to attend press conferences in Spanish.

“That’s probably the stuff that got me into trouble because I didn’t want to do it,” Bale recounted. “I just wanted to play football and go home. It hindered me and made them attack me even more. So, I advise doing well both on and off the pitch. You have to handle the media after the match, and if possible, try to speak in Spanish.”

Bellingham is recovering from a shoulder injury and has missed the last two matches for Real. The 20-year-old midfielder was a substitute in the 3-0 victory against Braga in the Champions League and was not included in the squad for the 5-1 win against Valencia in La Liga’s 13th round. Bellingham has also withdrawn from the England national team’s squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta on November 17 and North Macedonia on November 20. He is expected to be in peak condition for Real’s match against Cadiz in La Liga’s 14th round on November 26.

Bale joined Real Madrid for a world-record transfer fee of $113 million in the summer of 2013. After nine years, he played 258 matches, scored 106 goals, and won 16 titles with the club, including three La Liga titles and five Champions League trophies. The former Welsh player created memorable moments, such as a bicycle kick against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final and a header that helped Real Madrid lead 2-1 against Atletico Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final.

There were controversies in Bale’s final years at Real as he often suffered injuries and had disagreements with coach Zinedine Zidane. He also strained his relationship with Real Madrid fans when he lifted a flag with the words: “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order,” after helping Wales qualify for Euro 2020. The Spanish newspaper Marca even referred to Bale as a “parasite,” suggesting that he did not contribute proportionately to his highest-in-the-team salary of $20.3 million.

In the summer of 2022, Bale left Real Madrid and joined Los Angeles FC in Major League Soccer (MLS) on a free transfer. However, he only played for Los Angeles FC for a few months, winning the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield before retiring.

For the Wales national team, Bale’s best achievement was reaching the Euro 2016 semi-finals. He and the team also reached the Euro 2021 Round of 16 and the World Cup 2022 group stage.

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