Bale may be running out of time at Real

Reuters
While Bale struggled, the Bernabeu's new darling Marco Asensio shone. The 21-year-old winger scored both Real's goals, continuing his blistering start to the season.
Reuters
AFP

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale gestures after a fall during their Spanish league match against Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on August 27, 2017. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Change happens in the blink of an eye at Real Madrid and time may be running out for Gareth Bale.

The Welsh forward netted the team's first goal of the league season against Deportivo La Coruna as the European champion put in a commanding performance to win 3-0 on the opening weekend.

Seven days later, however, Bale was whistled off by fans at the Santiago Bernabeu after Zinedine Zidane substituted Real's record signing against Valencia with the scores level at 1-1 as it chased a winner in the final 15 minutes.

The supporters were frustrated at Bale's limp display in which he missed a clear chance when he headed the ball into the ground and over the bar as Los Blancos failed to turn their superiority into goals and drew 2-2.

While Bale struggled, the Bernabeu's new darling Marco Asensio shone. The 21-year-old winger scored both Real's goals, continuing his blistering start to the season.

Bale, who apart from his strike against Deportivo, has offered little in the league or in either of Real's Super Cup wins, has been singled out for criticism by fans and media alike.

Zidane is renowned for his man management and avoided putting pressure or blame on Bale.

"He is an important player in this squad," Zidane told reporters. "Gareth is Gareth. We will keep working, and keep counting on Gareth, like all the others. That's all."

However, it is difficult not to look past the French coach's words and Madrid-based newspaper Marca published a column on Monday headlined "Five days to sell Bale".

The article said Real should "take advantage of the good press Bale has in Britain and take advantage of the crazy, runaway and false transfer market".

Bale has always insisted he wants to stay at Real, happy to finally take part in a preseason campaign, something he has been denied in previous years due to injury.

"I'm happy I'm playing football, I'm winning trophies, so yeah, I don't want to move. There's not really much more I can say," Bale said.

However, if Real takes action, he may not be afforded much say in the matter. English Premier League clubs would jump at the chance to bring him back to England and with Asensio demonstrating his quality, Bale is no longer essential at the Bernabeu.

He helped Real win its first league title in five years last season, as well as three UEFA Champions League crowns since joining the team in 2013, a strong trophy haul which would ensure he could depart with his head held high.

Elsewhere in La Liga on Sunday, Sevilla, which finished fourth last season, produced another unconvincing display at Getafe and is still finding its feet under new coach Eduardo Berizzo, but earned the win thanks to a moment of inspiration from Ganso.

The Brazilian was being tightly marked when Gabriel Mercado's cross came his way in the area and he nonchalantly stuck out his right foot to flick the ball into the far corner in the 83rd minute.

Athletic Bilbao earned a first win under coach Jose Angel Ziganda by beating fellow Basque side Eibar 1-0 away and Leganes won 1-0 at Espanyol.

Real has four points from two games heading into the international break while Barcelona, Real Sociedad and Leganes won both their opening matches.

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