Bye-bye Bale? Youngster Jese could oust Wales wizard at Real Madrid
Gareth Bale’s future at Real Madrid may be in some doubt just six months after he moved to the Bernabeu from Tottenham for a reported world record fee.
Wales winger Bale, 24, is facing stiff competition for his place from emerging Real academy graduate Jese Rodriguez. The 20-year-old is quickly becoming a darling of the capital club’s crowd. Madrid are heavily odds-on at 1/12 to win their next home game with Elche.
Jorge Valdano, a former sporting director at the Bernabeu, told the Spanish press: “Bale has a strange anxiety because you do not notice it in the intensity of play.
“When someone is ambitious, they play at a speed above what suits them, but it is like he is somewhere else. That is the strange sensation you get from him.
“The team are saving him. There are so many points to consider, among them Jese who is drawing so much attention.”
As skilful Spain Under-21 international Jese earns rave reviews, pacy Bale has struggled with injuries and to achieve consistency since joining Madrid. The price tag may be weighing heavily on him.
That is certainly the view of Valdano. “I suppose it comes from… being so closely observed because of what was paid for him,” he said. “We have not yet seen the true Bale. You see he looks a bit unhappy at the moment. He looks a bit downcast.”
Bale (25) and Jese (26) have played a similar number of games at Real this season. Despite the stop-start nature of his first campaign in Spain, Bale has outscored and made more assists than his young challenger.
Jese’s totals in all competitions are eight goals and six assists. Bale betters that having played one match less, netting 11 and setting up a dozen other strikes for teammates.
After Carlo Ancelotti’s charges play their upcoming league game, Real resume their Champions League campaign away in the German industrial city of Gelsenkirchen against Bundesliga outfit Schalke.
Madrid are odds-on to win there at 1/2 and third-favourites to lift the European Cup at 9/2 behind Bayern Munich (15/8) and El Clasico rivals Barcelona (7/2).