Real Madrid have their own version of Walcott in Bale

Date published: Thursday 25th July 2019 2:30

Gareth Bale Theo Walcott Arsenal Tottenham

Send your thoughts to


Real Madrid’s own version of Theo Walcott
I may not have added that many stats, but neither did James Murphy. He sure cherry picked the ones that make Gareth Bale look good.

Firstly, my main point was that for a 100M Euro signing, Bale is not reliable. You are claiming that he doesn’t play many games a season because of injuries or manager selection. That is exactly my point. For a player who last year was supposed to be one of the main stars in the team, I should be able to count on him starting the whole season. It is clear his fitness is not up to part with elite players, which based on his salary and transfer cost it should be.

Secondly, you are comparing Benzema and Bale’s goals and assist stats. But you fail to understand Benzema’s role for Real Madrid. His main aim is to create space by running the empty channels and to create goal opportunities for Bale and Ronaldo. You are not understanding that Bale was bought to compete with Ronaldo, not Benzema. More importantly, he was also suppose to replace him when both Zidane and Ronaldo left last year. Yet he had probably his worst year in a Madrid shirt last year. But if you want, we can compare them in the first post-Ronaldo season.14 goals, 5 assists in 42 games and a rating of 6.88 on whoscored, the lowest in the last 10 years for Bale. Benzema has 26 goals, 6 assists in 44 games and a rating of 7.38.

Thirdly, you bring up Bale scoring in finals for Madrid. That is great undeniably. But the fact that those are the only games people who defend him bring up shows how unreliably he has been. What else did he do in the last 5 season at Madrid apart from his two goals against Liverpool? Especially in the UCL, where he averages 2 goals a season. You can’t claim to be among the best players in the world and have 1 great game in 5 years. Look at his player at his level like Salah, Mane and others and what they do for their team in the league and the UCL. Do you really think he is at their level today? Because that is what Madrid has been asking of him, and he hasn’t been producing.

Fourthly, I’m not going to go line by line on every player in Madrid to describe what they contributed, but based on their appearances on multiple teams of the year, ballon d’or nominations or wins, and goals scored in the UCL final you can probably figure out how important they were to their teams.

And finally, the comparison with Theo Walcott stands. I’m not saying they are at the same level. But if you had read my email, you would have seen that I said Madrid got their own version of Walcott. Someone who came in with so much hype, had a great early season and then didn’t contribute much to the team afterward. Often injured, often inconsistent and mainly just a very fast player. You can discuss the goals scored in the champion’s league final all you want but for what he is paid and what he cost, Bale has shown that he is not a reliable player. Once Ronaldo left he was expected to go and replace him, but instead had his worst year. He is often injured, has a huge salary and his direct style of play doesn’t suit the rest of the team. I’m the farthest thing from a Madrid fan but i understand why Zidane wants him gone. And if he is so good, why are teams not lining up at the door of Perez to take him off their hands? You think maybe Zidane knows more about football than you?
Guillaume, Paris


Chelsea surprise
Good morning,

I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of negativity about chelsea in the media and in the mailbox and online.

I’m fairly optimistic for the season. No pressure, bedding in youth and a good feel around the club for the first time in a while. Sarri was unjustly treated by fans and media alike for his performance last season. He done very very well. But who’s to say Lampard can’t do that.

We’ve lost our best player. Who contributed to half our goals last season yes, but we won’t be half as open as we were last season. There will be different options for the manager to use. We’ve got three strikers who are subjectively better than what we had last year. Our midfield options are better.

Early season I dont think we will be able to tell much. Loftus Cheek and Hudson Odoi won’t be available till September/october time. Kante might not be fit for the start of the season. But once we get everyone back and I would say our starting 11 and depth will have improved on last year. No one else has significantly improved their squads and wolves and Leicester have rightfully got a lot of praise for their business but I don’t think their squads are any better than ours. Arsenals certainly isn’t. Squad wise United’s isn’t stronger. Tottenham don’t have a back up striker for when Kane gets his yearly ankle trouble.

Sounds silly but I think chelsea might surprise a few people this year
Giraffe boy (Cautiously optimistic)


Wilfried Zaha situation
Dear Football365,

I don’t claim to speak for all Crystal Palace fans, I just have my perspective.

Here’s an idea for everyone when discussing the Wilfried Zaha situation.  Why not think about it from Palace’s perspective for a change?

The Eagles put a valuation on their best player that represents several things all in one go:

*The different in income that would happen if they sold Zaha and ended up being relegated as a consequence, based on their drop in form when he isn’t available for the team currently.

*The sell-on clause that means in order to receive his true value in today’s market, they need to inflate the price to pay Manchester United

*The amount it would cost to source a viable replacement, which would be affected by clubs knowing they had a lot of money to spend all of a sudden

One thing that seems to be lost on people is that it’s not simply a case of needing to sell a player, so trying to get as much as possible for him.  If they were selling him to be rid of him, they would be more likely to entertain “cash plus player” deals; the only thing to say to this is to the Arsenal fans, that generally these things work if you offer good players, rather than simply “give us your best player, we’ll give you some sh!t players”.  That’s before the frankly laughable valuations of those players who have been repeatedly castigated as not up to scratch by the media and their own fans.

The main sticking point for the sale is the third one.  Until the club can source a genuine, non-banterous, like-for-like replacement for Zaha, then he’s unlikely to go anywhere in the short term.  Preseason or not, results where the first team has played without Zaha have not been especially good.  Palace need him, or someone like him to build their play around.  Find someone like that, in their price/wage range, and you’ll make Zaha leaving Palace a lot easier.
Ed Quoththeraven


Days of Yore
Fascinating to think that in 2014 if you’d asked England fans who’d be in the midfield in 2019 they might well have name dropped Lallana, Wilshire and AOC. (Barkley as an up n comer).

Here we are now and none of them are close to playing for England or have played for Southgate. (ok, except Barkley).

So, this season coming: Lallana potentially reinvented as a 6 by Klopp, Wilshere has a great, injury-free 2019/20, and is brought back into the fold, AOC scores and assists for fun at Liverpool and we have a new (old) England  midfield. Crikey.

Liverpool, surge forward ’Lallana thru to The Ox, oh it’s a beauty!’ Southgate recalls them on form….

More realistically AOC has a great season at Liverpool and the others, revert to the mean, sadly.

All 3 have been hit hard by injuries and there’s little better than seeing a player sidelined by injuries coming back to their best. Yes, I’m a dreamer.

Anyways, isn’t this the beauty of footy: the danger of making predictions and looking a mug. Talking of which my money is on Mason Mount having a wonderful season and becomes the England player we’ve needed for, absolutely, yonks.
Tannistoo. (love to see Wilshire n Lallana prove all the ’sick notes’ wrong and yup, I’m a LFC fan – how did you guess?).


Ha Ha Harry
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, on reading Seb’s piece on Harry Maguire to Man United. Or whether I’d accidentally stumbled into Have times become so hard in off season that this kind of bait is being used? Every instinct tells me not to respond seriously. But what the heck. It’s off season.

Stability – apparently, Maguire will benefit from the relative stability at Leicester (4 managers since Fergie’s retirement) than at United (4 manager since Fergie’s retirement). Really? It’s a good think Rodgers has been around for years at Leicester and isn’t just their manager ‘for now’, right?

Playing with better Players – Maguire will apparently benefit from playing behind an ‘intriguing midfield’ at Leicester. If you want intrigue, look no further than OT. As to better players, I think you’ll find that United still ended up ahead of Leicester in every season bar one in the last 20 years. And is likely to in the foreseeable future. How about playing in front of one of the best goalkeepers in the world? And Danny Simpson over Aaron Wan Bissaka? Seriously?

I’ll concede the point on player devaluation but that is clearly a result of the prices paid by United and doesn’t always reflect the quality of the players. Never let it be said that players didn’t work out for Rodgers (cough! Benteke!)

And just a word on the title. Irreversible? I know it says ‘could’, but he ‘could’ be a player of the season candidate as well, right?

So much more to chat about, but work beckons, sadly.
Ved (must stop reacting!) Sen, MUFC


Milinkovic-Savic picture
Where is the photo for Milinkovic-Savic used from today’s news story sourced from?

Why is he alone? Have Lazio abandoned him on an Italian island until someone meets their transfer demands.

He looks very sad, lost and lonely. Is this because he’s on his way to Man Utd? Is he in the midst of an existential crisis? Is there a later photo of him skimming stones across the sea, while looking thoughtful?

I can’t stop staring at it…
Bob (Or is that what Manchester looks like in this weather?)


Alderweireld question
The lack of interest from Premier League teams with clear defensive weaknesses chasing Alderweireld has led me to conclude his release clause, much like Suarez’s ‘release’ clause, is not all that.

He’s too good, proven in Prem, in prime and cheap not to be a given.

Maybe it’s only a release clause to non-English teams. Maybe it’s a notify and commitment to deal (like Suarez’s was in principle).

If the former though, it got me thinking about multi-leg deals. How about foreign team x buying a player to immediately sell to y, just to get around the clause? Maybe even chuck in an extra buck or two.

It’s not dissimilar to what Madrid did with Morata.

I believe it’s done in some American sports although I guess there the concept is you acquire the contract rather than purchase the player (with draft picks/other players etc changing hands).

Why Arsenal haven’t gone in for him, I cannot fathom.
Tom, Walthamstow


Player swaps
In reply to Phil LFC’s mail regarding outrageous player swap deals:

Here are a few swaps which have taken place in this transfer window:

* Santi Mina + 13m pounds for Maxi Gomez (Valencia and Celta Vigo)

* Moi Delgado for Mario Soberon (Santander and Real Valladolid)

* Fabian Pavone and Alessandro Martella for Cristian Galano (Pescara and Parma)

* Neto for Jasper Cillessen (Valencia and Barcelona)

And now a few notable ones from past windows:

* Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United and Arsenal)

* Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Samuel Eto’o + 35m pounds (Inter Milan and Barcelona)

* David Luiz for Nemanja Matic + 20m pounds (Benfica and Chelsea)

* Fernando Torres for Alessio Cerci (AC Milan and Atletico Madrid)

* Ashley Cole for William Gallas + 5m pounds

* Ricardo Quaresma + some money for Deco (Barcelona and Porto)

* Francesco Coco for Clarence Seedorf (AC Milan and Inter Milan)

* Fabian Carini for Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus and Inter Milan)

* Diego Milito and Thiago Motta for Leonardo Bonucci, Robert Acquafresca, Francesco Bolzoni, Riccardo Meggiorini, part ownership of Ivan Fatic (Genoa and Inter Milan)

* Giampaolo Pazzini for Antonio Cassano (Inter Milan and AC Milan)

Undoubtedly, player swap deals are rare, mostly because two teams rarely want players from the other’s squad. And if they do, it’s not common that they players in demand would be available for transfer.

This transfer window is strange because rarely do you see such top players (Neymar, Dembele, Coutinho, Pogba, Icardi, Lukaku, Isco, James Rodriguez, Bale, etc) all unsettled at the same time. And given the fact that very few clubs can afford them, it’s natural/beneficial for clubs to engage in swap deals because (as far as I know) they can allow the clubs to assign transfer values to boost their accounts.

Consider the Neto-Cillessen swap deal, which in fact has gone down as Neto to Barca for 26+9m euros and Cillessen to Valencia for 35m euros. Barca ended up signing Neto before June 30, allowing Valencia to bank the money in the previous financial year and not make a loss/comply with FFP.

Cillessen to Valencia officially happened on July 1, allowing Barca to make a massive profit (came from Ajax for some 12m euros).

So, while such swaps are indeed rare, the current window is a perfect opportunity for a couple of big ones to happen.
Siddharth (Liverpool down to two senior full-backs. Sign a couple, Jurgen).


Premier League Enigmas
In response to Adeel, it is extremely harsh to call David Luiz a Premier League enigma. I’ll readily admit you don’t know what you’re gonna get from him sometimes, but all defenders make mistakes.

Luiz has had some calamitous performances in a Chelsea shirt but I promise you he has had just as much if not more terrific performances. He is the epitome of a leader and never shies away from his responsibilities on the pitch. Some of his best games for Chelsea are honestly up there with the best performances you’ll ever see from a defender.

I would personally rate him so highly as both a person and a player and often feel he is not fully appreciated at all, even by his own fans. Surely any player who was a key part of two title winning sides as well as Chelsea’s famous CL win in 2012 (in which he put his pen in the top corner in the shoot out win) cannot be called a Premier League enigma?
Ciarán C, Chelsea fan (Chelsea to finish in the top 4, even though the job has come too soon for Lamps), Ireland


Answer from a non-statistician
Easy one Martin BRFC – Spurs and Liverpool again! As neither won the league last season add another 2 years to the title-less total

While I’m here, to squad number game with my team looks fun. The number 9 shirt since the start of this century  – Gregorz Rasiak – Frederic Kanoute – Dimitar Berbatov – Roman Pavlyuchenko – Roberto Soldado – Vincent Janssen. Icons all of them I’m sure you’ll agree (apart from Berbatov, he was a bit rubbish…)
Simon THFC


CL Finals
In response to Martin on CL finals with teams who hadn’t won their domestic title in many years: Baaaaah, the 2018-19 final had nothing on the 2001-02 final which featured Bayer Leverkusen which hadn’t won the German title in infinite years. And if qualified RB Leipzig gets to the final in the 2020, it will be another “infinite.”
Christian (not a fan of German football, though) Copenhagen


Slovan Bratislava tickets…
Joe Boss,

if it’s anything like the Czech Republic, if a fixture is moved you’ll hear about it midweek before the game most likely. However, buying tickets in advance to a Slovan game seems kind of pointless to me; again, as here, football comes a pretty poor second to ice hockey in popularity so you’ll be able to get a ticket on the gate no problem. If you really want to make sure, however, will have them for online sale almost up to the start of the game.

Just a quick look at Transfermarkt shows that Slovan’s average attendance last season (a title-winning season, I might add), was 3,382. This was bumped up by having one sold-out game, which happened to be the first one in their shiny new stadium at Tehelné pole. 3,382 average in a 22,500 capacity ground? I think you’ll be all right 😉

Enjoy Bratislava!
David (Zbrojovkast series 2 out now!) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep.


More Related Articles