'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In That Order.' – Gareth Bale facing backlash at Real Madrid after posing with flag in Cardiff
Wales star holds up banner putting Spanish giants third on his list priorities - and they are not happy
Gareth Bale laughed and danced with his Wales teammates behind a flag that carried the message: “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In That Order.”
The forward can look forward to playing in another major tournament with Wales after helping them secure a place at next year’s Euro 2020 showpieece event.
But while his celebrations will make him an even bigger hero in his home country, it has not go down well in the Spanish capital, quickly sparking a furious reaction among Real supporters on social media.
Spanish publication Madrid Sports was also quick to condemn the £85 million (Dh389m) signing from Tottenham in 2013.
They tweeted a video of the incident along with the caption: "We have always defended you, Gareth Bale.
"We have had patience with your injuries, we have celebrated your goals and assists, and we have defended your passion for golf and your limited Spanish. But enough is enough. As it says on the flag, you are laughing at Madrid."
Aaron Ramsey scored twice – the first goal set up by a cross from Bale – as Wales beat Hungary 2-0 in a winner-takes-all match in Cardiff on Tuesday.
Wales climbed from fourth to a second-place finish in Group E behind Croatia, leaving Hungary to attempt to get to the finals via the play-offs in March. Slovakia, which beat Azerbaijan 2-0 on Tuesday, finished in third place and will also contest the playoffs.
It will be a second straight Euros for the Welsh, after 2016 in France when they reached the semifinals in their first major tournament in 58 years. That was under Chris Coleman and now they are coached by Ryan Giggs, the Manchester United great who has delivered in his first qualifying campaign in charge of his country.
Under Giggs, Wales could be a threat at the Europe-wide tournament held in June and July next year, with its forward line containing Bale and Manchester United’s Daniel James while Ramsey – now at Juventus after leaving Arsenal in the summer – can make an impact from midfield.
Much will hinge on the fitness of Bale and Ramsey, who have both seen their careers hit by injury problems. This was the first time they started together for Wales since a Nations League qualifier against Denmark last November.
“This is where we want to be,” Bale said about Wales reaching a major tournament for only the third time. “We will go there and have some fun again.”
He looked like he was having fun after the match as he danced on the field behind a flag whose message was linked to recent comments made by former Real Madrid player Predrag Mijatovic when discussing 30-year-old’s current priorities at Madrid.
Bale, who is big golf fan, has rarely appeared for Madrid in recent weeks because of injury but was able to play for Wales in both of its Euro 2020 qualifiers over the past week.
Once again, he shone for Wales. Bale was given time and space to curl in a left-footed cross from the right wing that Ramsey met at the far post to head high into the net. Ramsey’s second goal, in the 47th, was a cool finish from close range after he latched onto an acrobatic effort by substitute Kieffer Moore.
"It's about time he contributed!” Bale joked about Ramsey. “He's a world-class player, it's great to have him back and his goals helped us through.”
Gallery of Wales' glory night in Cardiff
Updated: November 20, 2019 09:30 PM