EPL

'Easy decision' to send Bale back to Madrid unless he improves, says Berbatov

By Sports Desk January 19, 2021

Tottenham will have an easy decision to send Gareth Bale back to Real Madrid at the end of the season unless the forward improves, according to Dimitar Berbatov.

Bale returned to Spurs on a season-long loan deal in September amid huge fanfare, but he has failed to live up to the hype thus far.

The 31-year-old has only made one Premier League start and is yet to play a full 90 minutes in any competition amid issues with injuries, fitness and form.

After reports suggested Spurs had already decided not to extend his loan for a second season, manager Jose Mourinho insisted last week there has not been "one second of discussion" over the issue.

But former Spurs star Berbatov believes the outcome is clear unless the Wales international embarks on a rapid turnaround in the second half of the season. 

Berbatov told Stats Perform News: "I was expecting a lot of him coming to Spurs, to shake things up and for him, Son and Kane to make it a trio up front that can rival the Liverpool attacking trio, for example.

"For the moment it is 100 per cent not working.

"There are still games until the end of the season, enough for him to show what he can do, in the [EFL Cup] final they play as well.

"So hopefully he can get back to 100 per cent and start playing. If not, in the end it is an easy decision – he can go back to Madrid."

Bale was an unused substitute in the 3-1 win at Sheffield United on Sunday.

Berbatov added: "In a way, it is disappointing that he is not being given more time to play. 

"But if you are not given more time to play, there are two reasons for that. Either are you injured and not in good shape to play or you are not performing well in training.

"Whatever the reason [for his lack of games] Gareth Bale is injury free now is because he's on the bench for the team.

"But he's not playing from the from the first minute so it means that obviously he's not producing the right level of football Jose Mourinho wants from him, which is a shame because I like him a lot."

With the EFL Cup final against Manchester City coming up in April, Berbatov feels Bale – along with Mourinho and captain Hugo Lloris – can play a huge role. 

Spurs were unable to win a trophy despite five and a half otherwise productive years under Mauricio Pochettino.

Berbatov – who won the League Cup with Spurs in 2008 – underlined the importance of lifting silverware.

"Jose Mourinho has led them to the final but let's not celebrate now because you need to make one more step," said Berbatov.

"I remember the game before we qualified for the final. We played against Arsenal and we beat them 5-1, everybody was celebrating like we won the final. And I'm like, 'People we are not there yet'. 

"We need to wait, we have one more step to make and then we can celebrate."

Berbatov continued: "The person who brought them there is Jose Mourinho. I think this is the reason they brought him into the club – to win trophies.

"It doesn't matter how [they get there] – the Premier League title, the cup, something – they need one so they can get that winning mentality going. 

"Although they have a world champion in their team, the goalkeeper, he should know how things are won – especially [having lifted] the World Cup. 

"So him, Jose Mourinho, Gareth Bale – who is coming from winning mentality – will run with it. Those three are very important, they can teach them in a way how to win things and then get that winning feeling.

"And after get that feeling, trust me, you don't want to let it go."

Related items

  • Simeone: This season a 'wake-up call' for Atletico Madrid Simeone: This season a 'wake-up call' for Atletico Madrid

    Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is satisfied but expects more after his side's season ended with a 2-1 win away to Real Sociedad on Sunday.

    Having already confirmed Champions League football next season, Atleti secured third spot over Sevilla with the win through second-half goals from Argentine duo Rodrigo de Paul and Angel Correa.

    After holding out against Real Madrid to win the LaLiga title last season, Simeone's side were considered favourites to repeat after strengthening the squad with De Paul, Matheus Cunha and Antoine Griezmann's arrivals, but finished 15 points adrift of their title-winning city rivals.

    Securing Champions League qualification is satisfactory according to Simeone, but this season has been a reality check for Atleti.

    "As we were champions last year, this always seems little," he said post-match. "In the end we ended up rounding off an important season, a good one, and one that leaves us in a privileged place," he said post-game.

    "I'm not going to lie, because I always expected more and I always want to be the champion. It's not easy because we live in a league with Barcelona and Real Madrid and it's difficult for both of them to fail, but on two occasions since I've been coach of Atletico we've achieved it.

    "This season has given us a wake-up call."

    Four consecutive LaLiga losses in December put the Rojiblancos in a difficult position, 14 points off Real Madrid by Christmas and out of the Champions League places with a resurgent Barcelona gaining ground under Xavi.

    They were eventually able to turn around a nine-point deficit to Sevilla, while pushing Manchester City in the last 16 of the Champions League, in what was a positive second half to the season.

    Following a solid performance to end the season, Atleti's strong run home gives Simeone confidence going into the next campaign, despite the Spanish league's natural order.

    "It's not a problem of improving positions, although it's clear how we can strengthen ourselves, but the team is already there and it has very good players who have won 10 in the last 14 games, which are numbers of a champion," he said.

    "We were very close to not making it [Champions League]," Simeone said. " This season leaves us with a lot of things, it was hard. We need to rest, since it started it wasn't easy. It cost a lot. It would be great to be able to generate hope, reverse how the end of the season was done. The rebelliousness of the players give us hope."

  • Xavi: Barcelona must be 'humble' to improve in off-season Xavi: Barcelona must be 'humble' to improve in off-season

    Barcelona boss Xavi asserted the club must be "humble" after they marked the end of the season with a 2-0 loss to Villarreal on Sunday.

    Goals from Alfonso Pedraza and Moi Gomez handed the seventh-placed Villarreal their first LaLiga win at Camp Nou since 2008 and punctuated Barcelona's trophy-less season, finishing 13 points off the title-winning Real Madrid.

    The fact Barca even finished second provided some cause for satisfaction given their start to the season, after winning only four of the opening 13 league games and sitting ninth in November, when Xavi took over from Ronald Koeman.

    The 42-year-old believes, amid an expectant fan base, the time to get to work and transform the squad to his liking has officially come, now Barca have reached the end of the season.

    "I keep the minutes in which people have cheered," Xavi said post-game. "It is normal, the public does not like to lose. But taking stock, we have to be satisfied. We have to be humble and see reality. Now the work of the office begins.

    "We have to change things. We have to opt for titles. We have to change things. We have to improve and strengthen ourselves."

    After only managing Al-Sadd for two years before taking on the coaching role at his former club, Xavi has experienced a baptism by fire upon his return to Europe, with crises gripping his boyhood club both on and off the pitch.

    The Blaugrana have experienced positive and difficult moments in his first coaching role in Europe, defeating Real Madrid 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu but also falling meekly in the Europa League at the hands of eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.

    On a personal level, Xavi is in a sense satisfied he has aided Barcelona in qualifying for the Champions League and salvaging their season, but is the adamant his squad must improve.

    "I knew that it was coming at a complicated and difficult moment," he said. "We have improved, but not enough. We have played brilliant games, but we have to be more reliable. I am here to add value, now we have to work for next year. We have to be positive.

    "We've saved a season that could have been disastrous. I'm satisfied on a personal level. We came from one of the worst moments in the club's history. A lot of things have to be changed.

    "This season has gone as it has gone. The coach has changed. And now we cannot come second. We have to reinforce ourselves very well. We have to compete. We have to change many things."

  • Neville and Keane left furious after spate of pitch-invasion violence Neville and Keane left furious after spate of pitch-invasion violence

    The increasing violence amid pitch invasions in English football is of great concern to Gary Neville and Roy Keane, who called the culprits "idiots, scumbags" and a "disgrace".

    City won the Premier League – their fourth title in the last five campaigns under Pep Guardiola – in dramatic fashion on the final day of the season on Sunday, coming from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium.

    However, as has been the case at several grounds across the country in recent weeks, City's win sparked scenes of fans charging onto the pitch at full-time.

    While the majority of the supporters celebrated peacefully, some fans were seen to have approached Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen, who had to be escorted off the pitch by stewards.

    Steven Gerrard subsequently confirmed that his goalkeeper had been "attacked" while City released a statement apologising to Villa and Olsen, promising a full investigation.

    The incident follows on from a Nottingham Forest fan having been jailed for assaulting Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp at the end of a Championship play-off semi-final, while lower down the pyramid, Port Vale fans were involved in an altercation with Swindon Town players.

    On Thursday, Everton supporters ran onto the pitch to celebrate a 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace that secured their Premier League status.

    One fan appeared to aggravate Palace boss Patrick Vieira, who seemingly lashed out at the supporter.

    It is a situation that former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville is extremely worried by.

    "This brilliant last 20 years, or 30 years, where we've brought the fences down in English football and the fans are respected and 99 times out of 100 they don't run onto the pitch because they enjoy the family environment, far more children coming to the game, far more women coming to the game," Neville said on Sky Sports.

    "All of a sudden in this last few weeks, months, not just running on the pitch, which is a problem, but if you're attacking managers and players – what are you doing?

    "Running on the pitch, they've won the league, they're delirious, I get that, but attacking the opposition players on the pitch – where has this come from, why is happening?

    "I've got no idea, it's absolutely ridiculous."

    It was a sentiment echoed by Neville's former Manchested United team-mate Keane, who is concerned by what may come next.

    He said: "A player or a manager is going to be seriously injured. If you're mad enough to punch a player you're going to be mad enough to do something stupid like stab a player.

    "I think people have come back after COVID and forgot how to behave themselves. Idiots, scumbags, disgrace. Absolutely disgraceful."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.