Dimitar Berbatov has hit out at Real Madrid's Gareth Bale for his "unprofessional and disrespectful" behaviour in the Spanish capital.
Bale has found himself out of favour at Madrid, with the star forward playing just 100 minutes of La Liga action since the league returned from its three-month hiatus in June amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The four-time Champions League winner sparked uproar when he was seen on camera with his face mask over his eyes before turning and laughing with team-mates from the stands during Madrid's 2-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves last week.
Bale – a substitute – then simulated holding a pair of binoculars in front of his face while he watched Madrid's 2-1 win at Granada and former Tottenham team-mate Berbatov criticised the Welsh outcast.
"Gareth Bale is in the headlines again for pretending to sleep in the stands when he found out he was going to be an unused substitute against Granada," Berbatov wrote in his column for Betfair.
"When I saw it, I couldn't believe it. I watched him put his mask over his eyes and pretend to be asleep. I cannot support that. It is unprofessional and disrespectful to Real Madrid.
— Goal (@goal) July 13, 2020
"I love watching Bale play and I can feel his pain at not playing because I have been in the same situation. But that kind of reaction is going too far.
"Madrid need to find a solution to the Bale saga. It's not good for Bale or the team and it is bad publicity. I do feel his pain, I have been in his shoes of not playing and nobody is probably giving him any answers, then you are provoked to do those kinds of things, but I cannot support what he did.
"The only solution is for Bale to leave Real Madrid. If I was a Real Madrid fan and saw a player disrespecting the team like that, it would be too much.
"Bale should be asking for a solution, even if it is a loan move. It was a show of power, it was if he was saying: 'Play me or I'll do whatever I want.' That doesn't sit right with me."