Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Gareth Bale gave Madrid 'absolutely nothing' at Juventus - Roy Keane

Gareth Bale gave Madrid 'absolutely nothing' at Juventus
Gareth Bale endured a miserable night in Turin.
Gareth Bale's anonymous performance meant Real Madrid were "only playing with 10 men" as they lost 2-1 at Juventus on Tuesday, according to Roy Keane, who was one of several analysts to criticise the Wales forward.

Bale, who has been struggling for form and fitness recently, found himself on the periphery of the Champions League semifinal first leg as goals from Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez gave the Italian champions a slight advantage despite Cristiano Ronaldo's away goal.

Former Manchester United midfielder Keane, who now works as a pundit for ITV Sport, said the Wales international -- linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer -- had contributed nothing to the European champions' cause.

"It's very difficult to win a big game like this when you're only playing with 10 men," Keane said. "Gareth Bale gave them absolutely nothing tonight.

"You could see a lack of confidence, but he kept making the easy decision. The reason he is at Real Madrid is to be brave, to get at people, but every time he got it tonight -- even in one-v-ones -- he turned back and, again, his teammates can't be happy with him because he took the easy option every time."

Former Chelsea and Scotland winger Pat Nevin, who now works as a pundit for BBC Radio 5 live, said Bale was struggling due to the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Questions have been raised over the pair's relationship ever since the Welshman made his big-money move from Tottenham in 2013, and Nevin said: "Personality-wise Ronaldo bosses things at Real Madrid.

"If there are two balls on -- Ronaldo or Bale -- they give the ball to Ronaldo. Bale has to be a big strong character, but it's almost impossible to take that off Ronaldo, who I feel thinks of Bale as a threat.

"That must be hard to deal with. Bale and Ronaldo have absolutely no understanding whatsoever. That's not really good enough for a centre-forward partnership. James Rodriguez was poor too. He's another perhaps playing in the shadow of Ronaldo.

"I don't think Bale is 100 percent fit. We know he has incredible pace, and ordinarily four or five times a game he will let rip and burn off past defenders. Not once did we see that today."

Keane, meanwhile, also hit out at defender Dani Carvajal, whose reckless foul on Tevez gave him the penalty from which the Argentine scored Juve's winner.

"I'm angry with him and I'm not even involved in the game," said Keane, who is currently working as the assistant manager for the Republic of Ireland national team. "I'm fuming.

"[If you were one of his teammates] you'd go up to him at the end of the game and say, 'What are you doing?' It is absolutely schoolboy stuff, and he's cost them the game. You'd lynch him."

Sergio Ramos also endured a difficult night as Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti opted to field the defender in midfield in the absence of the injured Luka Modric.

Madrid assistant boss Paul Clement told ITV: "It wasn't Ramos' best performance in midfield. He can do better in there."

Madrid-based newspaper AS' editor, Alfredo Relano, was also highly critical of Ramos, Bale and Carvajal.

"Madrid are still missing Modric [in midfield], and for sure Sergio Ramos cannot cover that gap," he wrote. "Against Juventus he was worse than in the two previous experiments [against Atletico Madrid and Sevilla]. He was awful. With that piece out of place, Bale was out of position and with a disinterested look."

He added: "At the back they were not solid either. Only Pepe. [Raphael] Varane had some slips, Marcelo was beaten more than once, above all in the first half. And Carvajal was bad again. He seems another player since the Danilo signing was announced."

Sergio Ramos also endured a difficult night as Madrid
Pirlo and Ramos
Fellow Madrid-based paper Marca said: "According to UEFA's statistics, Ramos completed 87% of his passes, but of these, most went backwards or sideways over a short distance. When he tried to spray longer balls into space or to switch play, his execution left a lot to be desired.

"Ramos also had trouble coping with Arturo Vidal, who bossed the midfield thanks to his superior engine and the fact that he was operating in his natural habitat.

"The only positive that came out of Ramos's more advanced role was that it freed up Kroos on occasion, but the German didn't have a great day at the office. With Luka Modric not expected to be back in time for the second leg, it will be interesting to see whether Ancelotti twists or persists with Ramos in midfield on the back of his trials and tribulations in Turin."


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