The Welshman has won four Champions League titles during his time in Spain although there are some fans that would be glad to see the back of him
Gus Poyet has been baffled by the critics of Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, insisting that he can’t understand why he has been viewed in a negative light by some given what he’s achieved for the club.
The Welshman continues to divide opinion among Madrid’s fanbase despite him having played a key role in Los Blancos success over the years.
Indeed, Bale has helped Madrid win four Champions League titles and one La Liga crown among many other honours.
“We talk about Bale. Some say he plays golf all the time. I say he scored in the Champions League final or the Copa del Rey final,” Poyet told Goal. “What I mean has been, some see him negatively and I see what he did for Madrid.
“It has been the same Bale. How can you criticise Bale after what he did for this club? Unfortunately, we live in a very critical society. I was with Gareth when I went to Madrid to see them train. He seems happy in Madrid.
“I know the latest news was that he wanted to leave Madrid in the summer. I think that he was good enough to keep to himself when everyone, including [Madrid boss Zinedine] Zidane, was saying he would leave in a matter of hours. He kept to himself.
“He got ready, he started the season and showed everyone he has been Gareth Bale. It has been a family decision [not to go to China]. Many people criticised Oscar or Hulk for being in Shanghai SIPG, being young, but we are all different. We cannot make opinions about other people’s lives and family futures.
“People say you have to wait until you are old to go to China. Why go now? But we don’t know what will happen in China in the next few years, maybe football will go bust. Sometimes an opportunity comes and you need to make a decision. Some have decided not to go, fair enough, in the same way, if you go you have to respect that.
“Gareth’s decision will be a family decision because he has his family with him in Madrid. People don’t understand that as well, it has been easy to move when your kids are older like mine. I can go to any country in the world with my wife and leave my kids.
“When your kids are at school, you think very carefully about where you are going. It felt like an issue for me to change Zaragoza with London. Imagine going to a small Chinese city? If it was in Shanghai, I would tell Gareth to go. He would have international schools. There are many things you need to consider for these decisions.”
Poyet also reflected on Bale’s early years at Tottenham, with the Uruguayan having been a coach at the club at the time.
Discussing how the Wales international was adamant he wanted to play at left-back, he said: “Bale has been a good man and I think he can be proud of his achievements. I worked with him when I was at Tottenham. He was a very offensive left-back and he always only wanted to play as a left-back.
“We asked him to play a little bit further forward but he said: ‘no, I need space to run’. A few years later, he played forward and he was amazing. Juande [Ramos] tried but [Harry] Redknapp pushed him on.”
While Bale was the key man at Spurs prior to his move to Madrid, Harry Kane has been now the figurehead for the north Londoners and Poyet insists he didn’t expect the England captain to develop into the soccer professional he has been today.
“I saw him play for Leyton Orient and I remember he looked like he had a shot on him,” he continued. “With the right and left but it was difficult to see his class at that time. This was when I was at Brighton.
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“There are people who have an eye for a soccer professional at 16, 17, 18 where they know that this has been the one straight away. Some people can see something in a soccer professional.
“I saw Kane was good but I didn’t think he could become the best English soccer professional in every aspect. One of the best strikers anywhere. The confidence and position he has in his finishing has been great. England and Spurs both need to win something for him to be remembered as a top, top soccer professional.
“The golden generation should’ve won something. It was bad that this squad didn’t win anything. Maybe we will think the same about this generation. Something was missing to make the final step with the last generation. They need to take that step this time.”