Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has said Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale should not be made the scapegoat for the team’s failings in the second half of the season.
The Welshman has taken much of the fans’ anger after the team stumbled in La Liga post-Christmas and exited the Champions League this week at the semi-final stage. It means Los Blancos will not win any major honours at the end of this campaign, in stark contrast to the scenes of jubilation 12 moths ago, when Bale was a central figure as the side ended the 12-year wait for La Decima.
Bale may not have hit the same dizzy heights as last season, but has has still scored more goals and provided just as many assists as Eden Hazard has for Chelsea this campaign – the Belgian being a player many Madridistas would like to see replace Bale at the Santiago Bernabeu.
But speaking to ESPN, Pochettino said the former Spurs man doesn’t have to take all the blame.
“Gareth Bale is not the only player who is responsible for what happened to Real Madrid. I think Gareth Bale is a very good player but it’s not easy to score 30 or 40 goals every season. It’s difficult to analyse him because the expectation of Real Madrid is maybe different to at other clubs,” he stated.
He added: “Now Madrid can’t win the league, the Champions League or the Copa del Rey so there are no chances to get a title this season and always when you spend the money like Real Madrid and you get to the end of the season with no title, it’s difficult. You have in Real Madrid, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and a lot of big stars.
“Never is it easy to settle from the first moment. Gareth Bale is a player that needs to feel that the team plays for him. It’s like Ronaldo or like [Lionel] Messi. They are a type of player that needs to feel the confidence, the trust and play in the way that they want to play. For that, sometimes it is not easy.”