A story that has been making many headlines in the past 24 hours or so has been the so-called fall out between Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, with the Welshman accused of ‘ball hogging’. Ronaldo had been furious at his teammate for not squaring the ball to him in last week’s 2-1 defeat at Valencia as he bore down on goal and a similar incident against Espanyol yesterday, further incensed the Portuguese, leading to booing of Bale from sections of his own support.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti was quick to defuse the situation after. “Later on the fans wanted him to pass to Cristiano but forwards are determined to score when they are through on the goalkeeper,” the Italian said. “Relations between them (Bale and Ronaldo) and everyone are very good. We are all pursuing the same goal which is to lift Real Madrid as high as possible.”
Spanish news outlets labelled Bale ‘a ball hog’ in the pursuing hours. However if such headlines were to be written about Ronaldo after every time he hadn’t passed to the former Tottenham Hotspur winger in similar situations, it would have taken up most spaces on the front of Spanish sports newspapers for the past one and half seasons. You see Bale may have been a little selfish and should probably have passed the ball but his crime certainly was not worthy of all the mass criticism he has faced since.
They won 3-0 yesterday as well, yet he took up the all the headlines for one eventually meaningless incident. Unfortunately, it appears as if Bale is just a victim of the clubs hierarchy system in which Ronaldo is the king and everything is done to suit his demanding needs. If he had failed to pass to any other Madrid player, the fuss made after might not have been on anything like the same scale and it had been the other way round? Well, it might not have even been brought to anybody’s attention.
Having watched a great deal of Bale’s games in Spain, he has often surrendered good opportunities to gain personal glory, to pass to Ronaldo and has supplied him well during his time at the Bernabeu. The reigning Ballon D’Or winner has often turned down the chance to do similarly and on these occasions, it has been treated as if he is an exception. The whole ideology of this mentality isn’t healthy. It teaches that some are better than others and that the elite are treated differently to those slightly below them.
Some will say that Ronaldo has earned the right to be in such a position due to his past achievements and all he has done for the club, to rightfully make him a legend of the game. He is a phenomenon and you can understand all at Real Madrid doing anything within their powers to keep him content. However football is a team sport and most of the beautiful game’s most trophy laden outfits have been centered around all 11-men on the pitch, as opposed to mere individuals.
It would appear that double standards are in play here. I would confidently add that Cristiano Ronaldo is more of a ball hog than Gareth Bale, in response to the Spanish media’s claims. Bale does not have the same status of his illustrious teammate and therefore is treated like an inferior passenger in the Real Madrid bus, leaving a bad taste in the mouth. Real Madrid try to ensure that Ronaldo’s every need is catered for and it is common knowledge that the team is sometimes picked to suit him.
In a club so heavily influenced by image and their owner, Ancelotti has had to play front men of whom the Portuguese wishes to play. This whole seemingly ludicrous example of player power, is to stop their most valuable asset from throwing a sulk. He is the main man and all the players or peasants (as you might call them), have to pass him the ball, without expecting to get it back. They have to treat him with more respect than the other players and stick up for him in front of the media. Keeping such a player happy at the club is crucial to the Los Blancos and anyone that threatens to rebel against that ‘rule’, is outlawed as seen with the unfortunate Welshman.