With or without crowd, Bale still fails to Impress

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Gareth Bale passed his half an hour on the pitch against Eibar as a largely unnoticed presence – like a ghost.

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Unfortunately for Real Madrid, that’s what we’ve come to expect of the Welshman now.

With the score at 3-1 and Eibar pushing forward to score a second, Bale was brought on to make the most of the gaps left behind.

However, his impact on the match was virtually zero.

Zinedine Zidane surprisingly opted for Rodrygo Goes in his starting line-up, but it was no shock that the Brazilian started ahead of Bale.

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The former Tottenham forward hasn’t given his boss much of a reason to start him this season having failed to score in LaLiga Santander since netting twice against Villarreal back in September.

Some thought that Bale would play a bit more freely now that matches were played away from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu – where he hasn’t scored since March 2019 – and in front of an empty stadium.

There was little evidence against Eibar that these changes would make any difference to the Welshman’s performances.

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His match numbers speak volumes: he completed seven of his 11 passes, he lost the ball five times, he won it back once and he didn’t attempt a single shot.

Those statistics are concerning, but it’s the lack of energy he relayed that was most worrying.

Vinicius came on alongside Bale and, in contrast to his older teammate, he was brighter and more of a threat down the left wing.

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The Brazilian didn’t have his best game, but his desire and hunger to impress saw him stand out a lot more than Bale.

The 30-year-old has lost his place on the right wing – if he ever had it under Zidane – and it seems he’s behind Rodrygo in the pecking order now, with Isco and Lucas Vazquez also waiting for a chance.

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