Gareth Bale has been hit by yet another injury setback, casting further doubts over his future in the Spanish capital.
The Welshman has suffered a staggering 24 injuries since making the move to Real Madrid, costing him a total of 56 league games.
His latest arrived this week when it was revealed that he will miss next week’s Madrid derby and possibly the rest of 2017.
A statement from Real Madrid on Friday read: “Our player Gareth Bale, who felt some discomfort in his left leg at the end of last Thursday’s training, has been subjected to different tests by the Medical Services today [Friday],” a club statement read.
“Real Madrid Sanitas have diagnosed a fibrillar fracture in the middle third of the adductor longus muscle of the aforementioned leg.”
It’s yet another crushing blow for both player and club, whose patience is beginning to wear very thin.
Real Madrid have remained patient through a turbulent period for Bale, managing to continue their dominance of Europe, partly thanks to the emergence of new talent in Isco and Asensio adding depth to one of the world’s best squads.
Bale has played a significant part in that success, but the last year has been particularly damaging.
And Bale’s latest breakdown may just be the final straw for the European champions, who can’t afford to be without a player they paid £85.1 million for back in 2013.
It hasn’t been easy for Bale since making the move and he has become an easy target for Madridistas and the press, not helped by his struggles to learn the Spanish language. His injuries and recent form haven’t helped either.
Bale has achieved a phenomenal amount since making the brave move to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2013, winning three Champions League titles, three Super Cups, the FIFA World Club Cup, La Liga, Copa Del Rey and a Spanish Supercopa.
Regardless of how he is handled by the Spanish press – after achieving all that – he will always walk away from the Bernabeu with his head held high.
However, it feels like the start of the end for Gareth Bale at Real Madrid and patience is certainly wearing thin.
Yet another breakdown means he will be out until the new year having played just five league games this season.
Many will put the blame on Real Madrid, especially with Zidane saying before the international break that he wouldn’t take his time with Bale, with the Madrid derby looming.
And Perhaps some of that blame is rightly placed. Something is clearly going wrong in the medical department if they can’t keep a player fit. Though, Bale must also feel that his body’s failure to keep up with the demands is a problem of his own.
Since joining in 2013, Gareth Bale has cost Real Madrid over €1m per game ? pic.twitter.com/UuzFz3GPRK
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 11, 2017
Is Bale being rushed back too often? It’s a question only a select few can answer, but Real Madrid have a £80+ million player who isn’t playing, and that becomes a huge issue, especially for a club who were expected to walk La Liga this year and now find themselves eight points behind leaders Barcelona.
Real Madrid’s famous BBC is already on its way out, with Ronaldo getting just one league goal this season, Benzema equalling that record, and Bale simply not playing.
But it could well be Bale who is first out of the exit door, especially given his lack of contribution in the last 12 months.
Real Madrid missed out on the likes of Kylian Mbappe in the summer, leaving lingering concerns of the lack of freshness in the team, despite last season’s success.
And while that gap was bridged by the emergence of a wonderful Marco Asensio, and the blistering form of Isco, it’s now starting to show.
Form will inevitably begin to pick up for Real Madrid and there were very small glimpses of that in the 3-0 home win over Las Palmas last weekend.
However, it increasingly feels like Bale is becoming an isolated figure who is no longer part of the thought process. After all, you can’t build a team around a player who is consistently absent.
Bale remains one of the best players in the game, but he is quickly falling behind and if he genuinely feels he has a better chance of staying fit in the Premier League or elsewhere, then he should take the leap.
He’s just 28 years of age and his career is already beginning to fizzle out. Instead of hitting his peak, he is going backwards and that’s solely down to his injury problems.
Real Madrid need a new galactico, and Gareth Bale needs a new start with football that demands less of his body.
There’s unlikely to be any movement in the January window, but Bale, who left the pitch against Dortmund in September with what he thought was cramp, has now missed 40 of Real’s last 60 games and the time to part ways, it feels, is getting closer with every injury setback.