He has, however, struggled for form and fitness at times and currently finds himself being asked to play an impact role by Santiago Solari from off the bench.
Life under the brightest of spotlights is nothing new for a man whose move to Madrid broke the world transfer record, but it has been suggested that more familiar surroundings would help to rediscover his spark and quash the criticism.
Former Blancos midfielder Van der Vaart, who played alongside Bale at Spurs between 2010 and 2012, buys into that way of thinking, telling Cadena Ser: “I am a little surprised at what is happening at Real Madrid with Gareth Bale.
“He is a very good player, he is not Cristiano [Ronaldo] or [Lionel] Messi, he is not a regular, he always plays well and there is more pressure than at Tottenham. I think that's a problem for him.
“Going to succeed in another place? It may be best but I think he wants to stay at Real Madrid and play more.
“But a team like United or a return to Tottenham could be better for him because people in England are different to those in Spain.”
Bale remains under contract in Madrid until 2022, but has seen a move elsewhere mooted in many of the recent transfer windows.
It could be that the next is the one which takes him to pastures new, be that in the Premier League or elsewhere.
Van der Vaart feels a change may be beneficial for a man who has always favoured the quiet life and has struggled to adapt fully to life in Spain as a result.
The Dutchman added: “Bale is a very calm player, he wants to be alone, he does not have much contact with his team-mates.
“It is important, though, to speak Spanish in Spain and I think that he is a bit lonely inside the team.
“When he plays well nothing happens, but if he plays badly then you have problems.”