Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui believes that Welsh forward Gareth Bale can fill the void left by the departure of Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo. The 33-year-old is virtually impossible to replace, but Lopetegui is confident of Bale’s ability.
Los Blancos boss Lopetegui is quoted by Sky Sports as saying:
“We first recognise Cristiano as one of the most important players in the recent history of Real Madrid, he vocalised his desire to leave and the club gave him all the facilities to do so. We wish him all the luck in the world.
“And when it comes to our players, Bale and everyone else, we are completely convinced we have the players to move forward.
“Bale is a magnificent player with qualities and we are convinced he and everyone else can fill the void.”
In Ronaldo’s shadow
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Real Madrid legend and will be impossible to replace. The Portuguese forward was always the star and main attraction for the club from the Spanish capital.
Bale has been in Ronaldo’s shadow in his five years at the club, enduring mixed fortunes at the Bernabeu. He arrived as a potential Galactico. However, he has not quite hit the heights expected of him in Madrid, never mind reached Ronaldo’s incredibly high standards.
The highlight of Bale’s career in Madrid was a brace in May’s 3-1 Champions League final against Liverpool. However, his double came from the substitute’s bench, as boss Zinedine Zidane decided not to start the former Tottenham.
Linked with a move back to the Premier League
Since his move to Real Madrid from Tottenham in 2013, Bale has seemingly been constantly linked with a return to the Premier League, mostly to Manchester United, who were linked with a move for the Welshman before his move to Madrid.
This summer the lazy link is once again doing the rounds in the British tabloids. The Red Devils are supposedly once again interested in signing the forward this summer. However, a return to Tottenham was also mooted recently, which Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino stated was unrealistic.
All the links seem to be on the back of claims each summer that Bale is unhappy in Spain, or is homesick. According to Los Blancos boss Lopetegui, the 29-year-old is very happy at the club and is an important player for the team.
Bale has a chance to take centre stage
Now that Ronaldo has exited the Spanish club, maybe Bale can take the opportunity to take centre stage. Media reports suggest that Los Blancos will not be signing a high profile replacement for Ronaldo, as Chelsea’s price for Eden Hazard is too expensive.
Instead, the European champions are set to rely on their existing players, with Bale, Isco and Marcos Asensio taking bigger roles in the team. There has even been talk of Bale playing in a more central role for the European champions, which would likely mean more the Welshman could have more influence for Los Blancos.
Bale was the star turn at Tottenham prior to his move to Spain. However, a number of factors have affected his status during his Real Madrid career such as injury problems and loss of form.
Maybe now that Ronaldo has left the Spanish club Bale can thrive. At 29, he still has time to prove his worth to the Madridistas.
Can Gareth Bale fill the Ronaldo void at Real Madrid?