MADRID (Reuters) – Winger Gareth Bale has been heavily criticised by the Spanish media for celebrating Wales’ Euro 2020 qualification by holding up a flag that appeared to indicate his passion to play for Real Madrid is way down the pecking order.
Bale’s decision to pose with a giant flag that read “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order” following Wales’ 2-0 victory over Hungary on Tuesday that sealed them a place in next year’s European championship has been lambasted in Spain.
Sports daily Marca’s front page headline on Thursday declared “Disrespectful. Misguided. Ungrateful. In that order,”, while AS newspaper captioned a picture of the winger playing golf with the message “Bale gets in a hole”.
AS went on to say Bale’s behaviour has “annoyed the club” and that “he is becoming a problem,” before imploring new Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho to take him back to his former club.
The paper’s Real Madrid editor Tomas Roncero suggested his flag for Bale would read “out, out, out”.
Many more are calling for the 30-year-old, who has fallen out of favour with Real manager Zinedine Zidane and has not featured in a club match since Oct. 5 due to injury, to be permanently axed from the team.
While football talk show presenter Josep Pedrerol implored Real president Florentino Perez to “kick Bale out”, some fans believe the flag stunt was a ploy for Bale to force his way out of the club.
He was set to leave Real for China earlier this year but the transfer fell through at the 11th hour following a change of heart from Perez, who has been Bale’s biggest ally during his time in Spain.
He was also accused of “treating Real Madrid badly,” even though he has helped the team to win four Champions League titles in six seasons with the club, scoring in two of the finals.
(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli, editing by Pritha Sarkar)