Bale must become an a***hole to succeed at Real Madrid! - Van der Vaart

Gareth Bale Real Madrid 2018-19
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The Wales forward continues to be criticised for his form in the Spanish capital, leading to his former Spurs team-mate offering plenty of advice

Gareth Bale has been urged to become "an a***hole" in a bid to win over Real Madrid's fans by ex-Blancos star Rafael van der Vaart.

Bale has come under criticism from supporters at Santiago Bernabeu this season, with the Wales international booed for certain performances during Madrid's forgettable campaign.

That has led to speculation regarding Bale's future, particularly since Zinedine Zidane - a manager under whom Bale struggled for regular starts during his first stint in charge - returned to the Spanish capital to replace Santiago Solari.

But Van der Vaart, who played alongside Bale at Tottenham having previously represented Madrid, believes his former team-mate must become more selfish if he is to succeed long-term.

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"It’s strange, but in Holland we say that sometimes you need to be an a***hole," the former Netherlands international told the Evening Standard.

"You can also be a positive a***hole. He’s worth €100m - they paid a lot of money and he has to do it. In his last year at Spurs, he took every free-kick, he decided everything.

“That’s what he has to do now. I realise it’s difficult, because you have so many good players, but he should do it more."

Despite that advice, Van der Vaart is unsure whether Bale has the necessary character to deal with the pressure of playing for a club the size of Real Madrid.

He has scored 102 goals in 224 appearances for Madrid since his world-record transfer in the summer of 2013, but that has not been enough to win over everyone inside the Bernabeu.

And Van der Vaart has warned Bale that there are always likely to be detractors even if his displays do become more consistent, meaning he will need to learn to put those critics to the back of his mind.

"Gareth is an amazing player but he’s a person that has to feel the confidence. He has to feel he is welcome.

Gareth Bale Real Madrid 2018-19

"But I know Real is a difficult club if you don’t perform. It doesn’t matter if you’re [Cristiano ]Ronaldo, Bale or Van der Vaart — they’ll throw you out after just one year.

"You have to deal with it, and I don’t know if he can do that. I know him as a person and, with a Spurs hat, I always hope he’ll say, ‘Okay, I’ll come back’.

"I don’t think it’s going to happen, but that would be a nice story."

Madrid are set to undergo a squad overhaul under Zidane this summer, with Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen among those reportedly on the club's transfer shortlist.

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But, like Bale, Van der Vaart is unsure whether the Denmark international would be able to cope with the weight of expectation at the 13-time European champions.

"He’s a fantastic player, but he comes across a little bit quiet," he said of the former Ajax man.

Madrid return to action after the international break on Sunday as they take on struggling Huesca in La Liga.