The Wales international has had somewhat of a rollercoaster ride since trading Spurs for Madrid in 2013, first experiencing huge success and now coming in for stark criticism from all corners.
It just hasn’t happened for Bale since the turn of the year, and his disappointing display during Madrid’s 2-1 first-leg Champions League defeat to Juventus was the latest in a long run of sub-par performances.
Difficulties integrating himself into Los Blancos’ star-studded squad are evident, and playing in the shadow of the ever-demanding Cristiano Ronaldo must be frustrating.
But for a player of such quality, his struggles are difficult to understand and Ancelotti has hinted that Bale’s form is directly linked with how well the rest of the team plays.
“Bale’s performance wasn’t good because it wasn’t a good display by Madrid. I don’t need to speak with Bale about this, he will return to form when Madrid return to form,” the Italian explained.
Why are Carlo Ancelotti’s comments startling?
Gareth Bale arrived in the Spanish capital from Spurs as the world’s most expensive footballer, a tag which should be completely relevant to his ability on the pitch.
However, Ancelotti’s comments in his Friday press conference suggested that the 25-year-old is totally dependent on Madrid playing well in order to reach top form.
The world’s best players are those that can make a difference, those that can win games by producing moments of individual quality, like Lionel Messi’s midweek double for Barcelona.
Bale scored match-winning goals in the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League final last season, so the ability is there, but rather worryingly he no longer looks capable of making such a difference.
And without the confidence of his boss, one has to question whether a summer return to the Premier League should now be a priority for Bale.