Gareth Bale admits that the jeers he has received from his own supporters at Real Madrid have done his fragile confidence few favours.
The Wales international initially endeared himself to a demanding fan base after completing a record-breaking transfer from Tottenham in 2013. Having helped to deliver major silverware for Real, with a useful habit of scoring in finals, Bale appeared destined to enjoy a positive spell in Spain.
He is still on Madrid’s books seven years after his arrival, but it remains to be seen how much longer he will be sticking around.
Bale’s representatives maintain that a contract due to run through to 2022 will be honoured, but the 31-year-old has slipped out of favour with coaches and supporters alike.
Zinedine Zidane has frozen the Welshman out on a regular basis, while the supporters have booed the forward at times when he has taken to the field.
Questions have been asked of Bale’s penchant for golf, along with his commitment to the collective cause, with transfer talk seemingly never far away in each passing window.
The former Spurs star admits that having to deal with taunts from those who are supposed to back him has impacted his form and mindset.
“This is the biggest question! I just don’t get it,” Bale told Erik Anders Lang’s YouTube channel. “Because if you’re not having a good time on the pitch, you would expect your fans to get behind you and try and make you do better because that will make them happy. But it seems to be they do the opposite.
“They just whistle you, which makes you feel worse, so you lose your confidence. Then you play worse, which is going to make them even more upset. It’s sort of a Real Madrid thing. Other clubs do it, but Real Madrid are especially known for it.
“So, I might have just missed an easy chance to score a goal, and the whistles come and you think: ‘My confidence is already down because I missed an easy goal and now it’s just going even more down.’ The next time a chance comes the goal seems tiny. It’s like a putt. The goal just gets smaller.”
Bale has made 251 appearances for Real, scoring 105 goals while helping them to two La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns.