The Welshman has come under fire this season but deserves respect for what he’s achieved in Spain, according to the former Liga midfielder
Gus Poyet says comparing Gareth Bale to Cristiano Ronaldo is unfair on the Wales international and that accepting who he is as a person will get the best out of him on the pitch.
Bale is in his sixth season with Real Madrid and has four Champions League trophies, three Super Cups, three Club World Cups and a Liga title to show for it.
It was the Welshman who scored the winning goal in the 2013-14 Copa del Rey final, too, while he was also part of the Real team to secure the 2017 Spanish Super Cup.
Madrid are endring a difficult season in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s summer transfer to Juventus, however, and tensions are running high in the Spanish capital.
Back-to-back Clasico defeats to Barcelona and a humbling 4-1 defeat at home to Ajax in the Champions League has only added to the pressure on the Real squad and manager Santiago Solari.
Bale has suffered inconsistent performances throughout the campaign and has often found himself at the centre of the criticism , something which former Zaragoza midfielder and Betis manager Poyet doesn’t feel is fair.
Speaking exclusively to Goal , he said: “The main problem with Gareth is that he’s at Real Madrid and as soon as Cristiano Ronaldo left, people wanted him to be Ronaldo. He’s not the same, he’s Gareth Bale.
“We think somebody will need to step up and do the job of Cristiano Ronaldo – nobody in the world can do that! You can’t bring in someone similar to Ronaldo. It’s unfair on Bale.
“He’s the same person who scored in the Copa del Rey final, when he ran 60 yards to score the winner. He’s the same player who scored the overhead kick in the Champions League final. He’s the same person who has been there for his country. He’s Gareth Bale.”
Gareth Bale Real Madrid
Bale found himself in the spotlight once more following comments from team-mate Thibaut Courtois, who accused him of being an outsider in the Real dressing room.
Courtois revealed that Bale’s nickname amongst his Real Madrid colleagues was ‘the golfer’ as he rarely socialised with team-mates and preferred to play golf ahead of taking part in team dinners.
Poyet, though, who has held managerial positions in England, Greece, Spain, China and France, has stressed that every player must be treated as an individual in order to get the best out of them.
“It’s very important to adapt to where you are, who you are and who you’re working with,” Poyet said. “That’s natural. But we’re all different. He [Bale] obviously lives a quiet life alone and keeps himself to himself and his friends and family.
“When he was winning the Champions League, nobody was talking about it. Or when he scored in the Champions League final. He was the same person, doing the same things. You have to accept everyone who they are.
“The most important thing to remember for a manager is you are dealing with 25 characters. You have 25 different styles of life, 25 people who are completely different to each other, different problems at home, and you need to deal with all of them. If it was all the same it would be very boring and very easy.
“If you need Gareth to perform at his best then you need to accept him as he is and he needs to adapt a little bit – and I’m sure he he open to that.”