Former Tottenham Hotspur hero Gareth Bale endured a torrid afternoon on Saturday as Real Madrid slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao.
Los Blancos have had a strange campaign this season, ranging from record-breaking consecutive victories to an uncharacteristic five losses already in Spain’s top flight.
A number of rare Barcelona defeats have so far kept Madrid on top spot in La Liga, but their latest loss could certainly change that.
Carlo Ancelotti fielded an extremely strong squad for the trip to the Basque region, but a lack of urgency and poor decisions in the final third ultimately proved their downfall.
Welsh wizard Bale has been for the large part brilliant since trading Spurs for the Santiago Bernabeu, but his form in 2015 leaves much to be desired, and yesterday’s display was arguably his worst of the bunch.
|Match||Goals||Shots on Target||Key Passes||Successful Take-ons||Accurate Crosses||Accurate Passes||Pass Completion %|
|Gareth Bale||vs. Athletic Bilbao||0||0||0||1/2||0/5||36||69.4%|
As per the Opta stats, he just never got going from an attacking perspective and posted just one shot throughout the whole 90 minutes – a speculative long-range effort which cannoned back off the crossbar.
Moreover, he failed to link up with fellow strike partners and his woeful crossing left a frustrated Cristiano Ronaldo once again bemoaning his decision-making in the final third.
To top it all off, he posted a team low 69.4% pass completion rate – an incredible figure compared to Aiser Illarramendi who found the intended target in 94.6% of his overall passes.
Ancelotti cut a frustrated figure and after the match claimed that his front three were guilty of being too individualistic, quoted by the BBC as saying: "There is no connection, there is too much individual play.”
Bale’s former days of lighting up White Hart Lane and being the main man at Spurs are gone. Nowadays, he is in the shadows of his Galactico teammates and represents a star player with the handbrake firmly on.