Gareth Bale Not Adapting Properly to the Right Wing

Denis Doyle

Although Gareth Bale has decent numbers since he signed for the club, he's not playing comfortably in Real Madrid's right wing. Carlo Ancelotti will need to find another position for the Welsh attacker if he wants to get the best out of the 2012-2013 Premier League Player of the Year.

First things first. Gareth Bale has scored 10 goals and delivered 9 assists on 22 appearances for Real Madrid. Those are good numbers, but his real impact on the team's performances has not been that great. The fans and football pundits expected Bale to have a similar role to Cristiano Ronaldo's. But he is playing as a pure winger on that right flank instead of creating chances and helping the midfielders in the center.

Bale is playing like an Ángel Di María/José Callejón-like of player when he has a bigger potential. He should be Real Madrid's second go-to player when the ball in on the last third of the pitch, but that is Karim Benzema's job for the moment. The French striker is succeeding, but one could wonder if that same efficiency would not be possible with Bale having a much more prominent role.

When he stays on that right wing and play as a pure winger, he can be easily covered by two or even three defenders. That means that he runs out of options. He can still cross the ball from the baseline, but his right foot can't create a big deal of chances with that play. The defenders know it and that's why they do not let him drive the ball to the center and make room for his powerful long-range shot. It's not that he lacks the rhythm and intensity anymore. While it's true that he didn't have a preseason and that clearly played a part on his early performances with the squad, he now outruns defenders with his speed. But he just doesn't have anything to do with the ball later other than crossing the ball.

Therefore, Carlo Ancelotti should give him more freedom. He should even give that kind of freedom to the whole BBC. Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale are clever players who will surely know how to understand each other's moves on the pitch in order to create dangerous chances. It should not be hard for them with such an unpredictable striker like Karim Benzema.

Maybe, if Ángel Di María started playing on the right flank of the center midfield, the defenders would have another offensive threat to worry about. Luka Modric is arguably the world's greatest midfielder right now but his duty is to take care of the ball on that midfield. On the other hand, Di María is much more offensive-minded and could try to help Bale on that right wing. His work-rate also means that the team would still be defending with a three-man midfield without the ball. That is just one of Ancelotti's options to get the best out of Gareth Bale.

No club spends more than 90M€ on a pure winger. With that kind of fee, the coaching staff should try to squeeze Bale's potential and obtain a more complete player. He was Tottenham's best player with that kind of freedom. He will not be what Real Madrid hoped for when they signed him if he keeps playing by himself on that right wing. If he has been able to record such good numbers even with that obvious discomfort, imagine what he can accomplish if Ancelotti finds the proper role for him.

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