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'Fragile' Gareth Bale The Target Of Scathing Criticism Once Again

'Fragile' Gareth Bale The Target Of Scathing Criticism Once Again
By Gary Connaughton
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Real Madrid are in disarray, with their 5-1 defeat in El Clásico on Sunday afternoon compounding what has been a miserable start to the season. Most of the criticism for this period has been directed at manager Julen Lopetegui, with many expecting him to dismissed from his position over the coming days.

However, some are now starting to question the role of the player's during this disastrous run. Unsurprisingly, Gareth Bale is the focus of a large proportion of the criticism.

The Welshman has often been a target of ridicule since his move to the Santiago Bernabeu, and that is certainly still the case.

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Former Real Madrid manager Jorge Valdano was speaking on Radio Marca, and he stated his belief that Bale has not performed as well as his world-record transfer fee suggested he would have.

We keep looking at Bale because of his price tag and that has created this illusion that he's some sort of world superstar, but the last five years aren't reflective of what Madrid paid for him.

Bale was the one in charge of tracking Jordi Alba [for Barcelona's first goal] but after seven minutes his concentration was gone. Alba was on his own down that flank.

At the start of the game, the players respected the system and their instructions, but then they do what comes naturally to them, like Bale did, and they think they have the authority to do whatever they like and that can go against the collective.

Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett has dismissed the comments, making it clear to ESPN that he does not hold Valdano's opinion very highly. When asked about the Argentine's comments, he replied: "it comes from nothing so it is taken as nothing."

Meanwhile, Jose Felix Diaz has also taken aim at the former Spurs player in his column for Marca via Reuters. He questioned the player's ability to perform on the biggest stage.

It's not the day for blaming one player, rather all of them, but the Welshman was the one who was supposed to lead this side and show character but he just resigned.

He looked like he couldn't cope with the stage or the pressure. I wrote a few weeks ago that Bale was showing he had what it took to become the leader, that he hid when Ronaldo was around, but I need to take that back.

He's picked up injuries and disappeared. His morale is fragile. It' a crying shame because of his incredible potential.

While Bale has won a number of major honours during his time in the Spanish capital, the fit has never been seamless.

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He has been plagued by injuries while having a world-record transfer fee hanging over him has not helped. We could be seeing the beginning of the end for Bale at the Santiago Bernabeu.

SEE ALSO: Martin O'Neill Pays Tribute To Leicester City Owner

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