Crystal Palace's Joe Ledley jumps to the defence of Real Madrid's Gareth Bale

Former Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale has been defended by Wales international teammate and Crystal Palace midfielder Joe Ledley.

Joe Ledley has jumped to Gareth Bale's defence on BBC Sport, after his international teammate continued to be criticised for his form at Real Madrid.

Bale has had a difficult second season with the La Liga giants, and his performance in the Champions League semi-final against Juventus earlier in the week has been slammed by supporters and the Spanish press.

It leaves the former Tottenham Hotspur star's future at the Santiago Bernabeu in doubt, but Crystal Palace midfielder Ledley, who plays with the winger for Wales, feels the criticism has been unfair.

"Last year what he achieved was unbelievable - Champions League winner and you can't write a script for what he did," Ledley said.

"This season everyone's getting on his back and he's still got 15-odd goals and eight assists. I would take that all day, anyone would. People just want more and more and for me he's just brilliant. A team like Real Madrid are lucky to have a player like Gareth."

Bale has been under pressure to perform at Madrid ever since he completed his record-breaking transfer from Spurs.

Unfortunately, his move has not worked out as desired so far, and Bale's confidence has visibly been knocked by his struggles of late.

The 25-year-old has failed to score in his last seven matches and seems to have lost the destructive power that made him such a weapon in the Premier League.

It has left rumours circulating in the Daily Mirror that Manchester United could be prepared to make a bid this summer, and a move back to England may not be a bad thing for the high-profile star.

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