Gareth Bale made his first appearance at the Santiago Bernabeu since February 2020 on Saturday, and his introduction was met by a chorus of jeers from the home crowd, with Carlos Ancelotti insisting the ‘whistles are understandable’.
The Welshman was afforded a late cameo in Real’s 2-0 win over Getafe, coming on in the 74th minute for Karim Benzema, but it was not a happy return to the Bernabeu for the 32-year-old, as his substitution provoked a frosty reception from the home fans.
Bale’s relationship with the Real supporters has plummeted in recent years and he looks set to leave the club in the summer upon the expiration of his contract, concluding a nine-year spell in the Spanish capital — and he appeared unfazed by the crowd’s hostile reaction, as he wore a smirk while entering the fray.
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He was recently forced to defend himself after Spanish publication Marca referred to him as a ‘parasite’ for missing the club’s 4-0 El Clasico defeat to Barcelona but appeared in Wales’ 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Austria, posting on social media: “We all know who the real parasite is!”
Despite helping Real win plenty of trophies, not least four Champions Leagues, since swapping them for Tottenham in 2013, fans have continued to voice their frustration with him, and Ancelotti has now refused to condemn their most recent audible fury with the Welsh forward.
“I think that our fans are very important. They were against PSG [In the round of 16] and now we have them, that push, on Tuesday,” Ancelotti told reporters.
“The whistle on Bale is understandable but he is doing well now. He is a serious professional.”
The whistling largely stems from Bale’s apparent reluctance to learn Spanish, but perhaps more famously after he held up a banner reading ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order’, while on international duty three years ago. However, his agent, Jonathan Barnett, recently hit out at claims he doesn’t know the language.
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Barnett told Deportes Cuatro: “He speaks Spanish. What happens is that people who do not know him say that he does not. Stupid and ignorant people who have not spoken to him. It’s a shame.
“He has always been very happy in Madrid, he arrived as a young man, his children were born in the city, he has donated a lot of money to Spanish hospitals for Covid (a reported £400k) and he loves the city and the club, and I think the parasites are the ones who speak ill of him.”