IT HAS BEEN rumoured for a while that Wales and golf are infinitely more attractive than Real Madrid to Gareth Bale.
Former Real striker and director of football Predrag Mijatović claimed Bale prioritised Wales – and even his interest in golf – over his club side.
That prompted one Wales fan to print a flag reading: ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.’ and a new Welsh chant evolved.
In response, after securing Wales’ place at next summer’s tournament, Bale and his national teammates posed behind the famed flag with the bold message printed on it Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order,” it read.
Never a message likely to be well received in the Spanish capital, Bale was photographed laughing, situated front and centre behind the flag.
Adding fuel to the already present criticism that the forward, 30, had trained with Wales despite not playing for Real for a month. Spanish newspaper Marca described Bale training with his national side as the ‘Miracle in Wales’, as he had not played for Real since injuring his calf during his country’s 1-1 draw with Croatia in October.
But before Wales’ crucial Euro 2020 qualifier in Azerbaijan on Saturday, Bale said he had no case to answer. He admits that with Wales, he’s speaking his own language and feels more comfortable. He’s been with most of the team since they were Under-17s and has laughed off criticism from the Spanish media.
Alas, Real Madrid are not amused by the Gareth Bale or the flag, for starters they pay Bale £250,000 a week.
This “harmless joke” has not pleased anyone there, but nor has it entirely surprised them: there is a sense that this does not break anything, exactly; it merely underlines that something was already broken. It was a joke, they know, but not in great taste.