Gareth Ceidiog Hughes
You may have heard that there has been somewhat of a furore involving Gareth Bale and a certain flag.
The now iconic banner was brought on to the pitch during jubilant celebrations after Wales beat Hungary to secure its place in Euro 2020.
It featured the immortal words “Wales, Golf, and Madrid – and in that order.”
The flag mocked a cheap jibe in Bale’s direction by former Real Madrid player and sporting director Pedja Mijatovic about his priorities.
The dig also inspired a fine chant, and an inevitable t-shirt by the Welsh clothing company Cowbois.
Unsurprisingly the Spanish press and the madridstas went absolutely bananas at this. You see it is perfectly OK to talk trash about Gareth Bale. However, it is totally unacceptable to poke fun at said trash talk, and to not take it all too seriously.
English football pundits with the collective IQ of a boiled potato have also been getting in on the act to condemn Bale. Perhaps the ludicrous sense of entitlement of the madridstas speaks to them for some reason.
It should be noted that it was not actually Bale who brought the flag on to the pitch. What exactly is he meant to do? Run off to stand in the corner while his teammates celebrated Wales qualifying for a major tournament for only the third time in its history? Give me a break.
He had every right to stay and celebrate with his teammates and he had every right to find the flag funny, because it is.
Real Madrid and its appalling fans have treated Bale like garbage. They have abused him for years, and he has taken it all on the chin. The club has the worst fans in the world. It can get stuffed as far as I’m concerned. Wales on the other hand, and I may be a tiny bit biased here, has the best.
So, no wonder Bale said in the pre-match interview that he preferred playing for Wales more than Madrid. Who’d have thought that playing for a team where the fans don’t abuse you and the manager appreciates your talents is preferable? Funny that.
The shockingly ungrateful Real Madrid fans should count themselves lucky. Before Bale arrived, it hadn’t won the Champions League for 10 seasons. They won it a remarkable four times in six seasons with him in the team. He has scored crucial cup final goals, including absolute worldies, and has won a La Liga title to boot.
The Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has not hid his disdain for Bale in press conferences and has openly discussed wanting to get shot of him.
It should be pointed out, that despite being plagued by injuries, the Welshman has scored twice as many goals, had around the same number of assists and won a hell of a lot more trophies than his boss did at the club. Despite this he isn’t treated with anything like the same level of esteem by its fans. Quite the opposite in fact. He has been treated like a pariah, and he has endured it with humility, grace, stoicism, and a quiet determination.
Real Madrid is a spoilt, petulant child. Wales knows football poverty all too well, and therefore understands and appreciates when it has something truly special.
There are those who argue that Bale should show his employers a little more respect. Well respect is a two-way street I’m afraid, and they forfeited the right to it a long time ago. A joke at their expense was long overdue quite frankly, and this one is bloody hilarious.
And Wales is more important than Real Madrid by the way. So there…