Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale was once more at the centre of controversy during his side’s 2-0 victory over Alaves on Friday evening – despite not even playing in the match.
The Welshman was left out of Zinedine Zidane’s starting XI for the clash at the Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium, but he still managed to work his way into the limelight with his reaction to not being brought on.
After Zidane made his fifth and final substitution, the 30-year-old was seen snacking and kicking back in the stands – with his face mask actually over his face and eyes. Fancied a nap, clearly.
Obviously, not everybody has seen the funny side, with Spanish outlet Marca drawing comparisons to the infamous image of Madrid flop Julian Faubert with his eyes closed whilst a substitute.
This incident is one of many that has been used against Bale during his time in the Spanish capital, with him often drawing criticism for his perceived preference for golf over football and his lack of integration into Madrid society.
This came to a head when the Wales international held up a ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid’ banner following his nation’s European Championship qualification back in November, which appeared to somewhat mock his current club and drew the wrath of the press.
While Bale appears unmoved by the media’s perception of him, he has recently spoken out against the Los Blancos supporters and questioned the sense of their booing of players at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The wide-man has endured something of a turbulent spell in La Liga since his arrival in 2013, with his early impressive performances being overshadowed by his off the field activities and his injury problems.
Whether or not he will face any backlash from his club for this incident is unclear, although it does appear that his time in Spain is growing ever more toxic.