Gareth Bale's torrid relationship with the Spanish press continues, with local media taking aim at his recurrent injury problems yet again. The former Tottenham star was lambasted after Real Madrid confirmed he had suffered a recurrence of the soleus problem that kept him on the sidelines earlier this season, but did not stop him playing for the Welsh national team in a dead-rubber against Andorra.
Spain press blamed castigated the Welshman for his injury, claiming he was more committed to his country than the club that paid a world record fee of £89m ($137m) to lure him from White Hart Lane in 2013.
The Welshman has failed to impress on a number of occasions in his first two seasons at the club, but critics are now targeting not only his performances, but his fitness following the emergence of his fifth soleus injury during his time at the club.
Mundo Deportivo reports the player has missed 25% (21 out of 84) of La Liga games since his arrival at the Bernabeu – and the stats are likely to get worse in coming weeks as he is expected to be out for the next two games at least.
The Catalan-based newspaper claimed Real Madrid are concerned about Bale's injury issues, as the numbers give him little hope of becoming Cristiano Ronaldo's long-term replacement at the club.
AS even compared Bale to Jonathan Woodgate, the man once branded Real Madrid's worst signing ever after he played just 14 games in two seasons at the club, missing a whole year with injury and both being sent off and scoring an own goal on his debut.
The Spanish newspaper did not just blame Bale for his exertions with the Welsh team, but also pointed the finger at Real Madrid's head doctor, Jesus Olmo. Olmo is believed to be unpopular in the club's changing room, as the side have already suffered 11 injuries this season.
OImo, nicknamed Dr Stretch because of his insistence that stretching cures all ills, has a close personal relationship with the club president, Florentino Perez.
Olmo was also responsible for Woodgate's health at the club, working then as an external consultant at Real. Eventually, the side gave up with the Englishman's back problems, and AS says this issue "resonates with Bale's repeated calf problems".