The Gareth Bale blame-game continues. And it’s becoming quite a farce.
A day after Jonathan Barnett, the Welsh forward’s agent, responded to criticism of his star client’s performances following Real’s 2-1 defeat to Juventus in the first-leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal last Tuesday, Real coach Carlo Ancelotti launched an attack on Barnett in response.
It all started with the media criticism that followed Bale’s passive performance in Juve’s 2-1 win last week. Former Manchester United players Roy Keane and Paul Scholes said the Welshman failed to show up, while criticism in Spain pointed out that this has been a theme in Bale’s season. Barnett, who oversaw Bale’s world record transfer to Madrid from Tottenham in Sept 2013, responded by saying that his client’s poor stats are down to his teammates not passing the ball to him enough.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s UCL semifinal second-leg, Ancelotti responded to Barnett and the Bale controversy with a thinly veiled criticism of both the player and agent. "I think that Bale has had a good season,” the Italian began. “Last season he scored in the important moments, in the finals, and it could be that with some luck he will have the opportunity to do the same again. We are happy with Bale's season. There are many people in this world that like to talk and at times they do so too much.”
He added: "Bale's agent has never been to one of our training sessions, he doesn't know our atmosphere and he is talking from the outside. Bale has never had a problem with his teammates, neither have they with him. Bale loves his teammates and they love him. It would have been better for him not to say anything.
Colombian World Cup star James Rodriguez, who also attended the press conference, denied that Bale is treated any differently from his other Real Madrid teammates. "Gareth is a good player, we all want to play with him, but not just him with Cristiano (Ronaldo), Chicharito and many more. I think that this is a team and we all have to be united."
Ancelotti then returned attention to the more important matter: "The team is concentrated and desperate to play a great semi-final to have the chance to return to the final of this competition," he said. "It is the most important moment of the season because we are very close to playing another final and entering into the history of this competition."
Indeed. Ancelotti & Company absolutely did not need this petulant distraction a day before the most important game of the season. Even though La Liga may now be beyond the Royal Whites, they are still in the UCL semifinal and the focus needs to be on preparing for that, not some ridiculous crybaby sideshow.
Which brings us to today’s point: Gareth Bale should fire his agent. And he should really do it before Wednesday’s return-leg against Juve at the Bernabeu.
Regardless of whether Barnett’s comments about Bale’s teammates not passing the ball to him enough came at his client’s request or not, the comments have both embarrassed and damaged Bale, as well as Real Madrid, in preparation for tomorrow’s semi. And while Ancelotti & Company maintain that such distractions won’t damage the mood ahead of the crucial clash, they certainly don’t help, so it would behoove the Welshman to get rid of this guy so attention can return to the game at hand.