Gareth Bale suffering mentally like ex-Arsenal and Chelsea star says former Madrid boss

Nicolas Anelka

Former Real Madrid and Wales boss John Toshack has compared ex-Tottenham Hotspur man Gareth Bale to Nicolas Anelka.

It's been a bit like silly season in Spain over the past week's international break, with rumours of the severity of Gareth Bale's injury being made and then denied.

The world record signing from Tottenham Hotspur has had a pretty dreary start to life in Spain, despite a debut goal.

It has been such after he failed to make an impact in the 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid, and the Spanish press began to turn on him with one knee-jerk report labelling him 'one-dimensional'.

The situation can't be easy for the Welshman, who has the burden of the world record fee around his neck, and must be incredibly frustrated at not being able to just get out there and play football. The longer the wait, the more intense the scrutiny will become when he does return.

LIVE Premier League match alerts to your phone - goals, red cards, half and full time scores

Former Wales and Real Madrid boss John Toshack has made his own comparison, to a player familiar in Bale's former city of residence, London. 

He told Spanish newspaper Sport: "The move to Madrid could have taken it's toll mentally, after so long without training with the group.Just like in my time, with Anelka... Madrid is much larger than any other team."

When Nicolas Anelka left Arsenal for Real Madrid, it was under acrimonious circumstances having burned his bridges with Arsenal by pushing heavily for a move behind the scenes.

He was at the time a record signing for Madrid at £23 million, but never really settled. Toshack was the manager at the time but was fired three games in for criticising his players publicly, losing the dressing room. A report written in the Independent at the time cites Anelka's 'lacklustre efforts' as a contributing factor.

More than a decade on Toshack clearly doesn't blame the Frenchman, but the circumstances of having to adapt quickly to a new culture, team, and in intense spotlight from the media. 

However Toshack's point is not quite so concise, considering Anelka signed in July of that year, and unlike Bale had more time to adapt. He also did not have the substantial problem of being injured.

There is surely little danger of Bale ending up being sold a year on by Madrid like Anelka was, in fact it would be near impossible given the fee they paid.

But when he is fit, proving himself a success will be as big a challenge from a mental standpoint, as it is technical or physical in attempting to live up up to near impossible expectations.

How would you describe Bale's start to life at Madrid?

image: © Andrea Sartorati

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch