Gareth Bale’s recent performances have “annoyed” Real Madrid fans and Predrag Mijatovic thinks Wednesday’s Copa del Rey Clasico against Barcelona could be his “last chance”.
Wales international Bale missed three weeks at the start of the year with a calf injury but made a goalscoring return as a substitute in the 4-2 victory over Espanyol on January 27.
He again featured from the bench in last week’s Copa triumph over Girona but was replaced after an underwhelming 63 minutes when he returned to the starting line-up for Sunday’s 3-0 win over Deportivo Alaves.
With teenage winger Vinicius Junior stringing together some strong performances – including a goal against Alaves – Mijatovic feels Bale could find himself out of favour under Santiago Solari, particularly if he fails to impress against Barca at Camp Nou in the semi-final first leg.
“Somebody has to defend and Lucas [Vazquez] knows how to track back and help. On the left wing, Vinicius is playing well and Bale has his difficulties,” Mijatovic told El Larguero on Cadena SER.
“If he [Solari] plays Bale, it’s the last chance he has. We’re all annoyed with his game. Vinicius plays better at the Bernabeu.
“Barcelona have tremendous attacking power. They’re capable of scoring three goals in five minutes. They’re the leaders [in LaLiga], they’re in the Champions League and the Copa.
“It’s a two-legged eliminator. We have to go out and make a good result and take it into account regardless of how it ends. If you get a good result, Barca can also win at the Bernabeu.”
Ready for El Clasico. Vamos! #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/XlmNwW60Px
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) February 5, 2019
Lionel Messi has been included in Barca’s squad despite being hurt during their 2-2 draw against Valencia on Saturday, but Mijatovic doubts any risks will be taken with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“He’s a key player and he knows himself. He’ll tell him [Ernesto Valverde] if he can start, and if there’s a risk he’ll be on the bench. With the experience Messi has, I don’t think he’s stupid enough to take the risk,” he added.