Bale: from the hiding place in Madrid to be the smiling leader with Wales

The Briton has spent 27 days without playing or training in a group with the white team to show his most cheerful face with his team.


A month later, Gareth Bale returns to show his best smile. The one that has not looked since October 13, against Croatia, in the last game he has played. He will step on the grass again wearing the shirt of Wales, like that occasion. Since then 34 days have passed in which Bale has not played a single minute with his club, Real Madrid, has not even participated in any training with the rest of the group and has been constantly in the eye of the hurricane. The game of the Welsh hideout, playing from month to month

The final moments of that qualifying match for the European Championship against Croatia made the alarms in Real Madrid jump. The first scare had happened three days before, in the match against Slovakia, when he suffered a blow to the knee. Bale, who has practically become a spokesman for Wales in each match preview, reassured the white club: "I'm fine." And so it was: he played against Croatia and suffered a cramp in the final moments. It didn't seem to be serious and the game ended because of the impossibility of making more changes (Giggs had exhausted all three of Wales) .

Upon his return to Madrid, the mystery emanated. He did not travel to Mallorca and his presence in the vital Champions League match against Galatasaray in Istanbul was uncertain. The apparent cramps, in principle, minor, contained something else. Real Madrid also did not issue a medical part, a possible indication that the physical problem with Bale could be minor. It turned out that it was a Welsh petition, based on its right to data protection.

The days during the break forced by the postponement of the Classic elapsed for the British between work in the gym and solo exercises on the grass of the Valdebebas fields. And then the controversy broke out. Two days after the game against Leganés, Bale went to London on a two-day 'lightning trip' between conflicting versions of his steps and the unknown reason for the visit to his representative Jonathan Barnett.

Far from escaping the eye of the hurricane, the messes continued with Bale. On his return, he ignored a child asking for an autograph at the airport. And in the Leganés game the television cameras hunted him leaving the Bernabéu in his car in the 82nd minute of the match. Although the internal rules of the club allow non-summoned players to leave the stadium with ten minutes left, Jovic's goal was lost. He repeated scared prematurely against Betis (James did the same) and Galatasaray.

The call of Bale with Wales for this selection stop predicted a new scandal. It was up to Zidane to show his face and he was relieved when asked how he saw that Bale and James (in a similar situation, the Colombian has returned to Madrid after being examined by doctors in his country) were summoned by his team while not playing with the Madrid. "Bale and James are not injured, but they are not available," he settled, annoyed at the reiteration in the journalists' question, before the last match before the break, against Eibar.

Three days later, and after 27 without training or playing with Real Madrid, Bale reappeared smiling and even joking in Wales' first training. Without any kind of complex, nor has he had to speak at the press conference before the match against Azerbaijan. "I am more excited to play with Wales than with Madrid." A phrase that tests the threshold of the patience of Madrid but synthesizes what has been the last month in Bale's trajectory: from the hiding place in Madrid to being the alma mater with his country. "I wouldn't say I'm playing happily, but I'm playing," he told Sky Sports in September during the first FIFA stop of the season. This week, his smile has shone again more than ever regaining happiness to the shelter of his team.

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