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Gareth Bale must prove his mettle against Ajax

01:22 GMT 05/03/2019
Gareth Bale, David Neres
Only a sparkling performance against Ajax will help him win over the Bernabeu faithful once again...

Gareth Bale had one of his worst nights in a Real Madrid shirt during the 1-0 loss against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night.

The Welshman did not have any impact on the proceedings and with just 20 touches in 61 minutes he was the least involved player on the pitch (including two keepers).

But with lack of goal-scoring options on the bench, Santiago Solari will once again look up to the 30-year old to produce the goods in the attacking third when they take on Ajax in the return leg of the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Vinicius Jr. has been a bright spark on the left flank but the 18-year old has been far from clinical in front of goal. While Karim Benzema remains Madrid's top-scorer (20 goals) this season, the Frenchman has gone missing in certain crucial matches, adding to the frustration of Solari.

Bale had a decent outing in Amsterdam and looked dangerous on the break. Although he was not amongst the goals, he was in the thick of things.  Therefore, it would not be surprising if the manager decides to stick to the front-three that took the pitch against Barcelona. 

Erik ten Hag will look to play attacking football in order to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg which will lead to gaps at the back. Bale will certainly be tough to deal with in this context as he has the pace to burn and is decisive during counter attacks.

The Bernabeu did jeer him while he was being taken off against Barcelona and to win back the confidence of the supporters, Bale must put his best foot forward when the Dutch-outfit makes a trip to the Spanish capital.

In fact, Madrid have lost each of their six Clasicos at the Bernabeu in all competitions when the former Spurs man has featured. 

Should he need some inspiration he can always revisit his acrobatic goal in the Champions League final against Liverpool which earned him his fourth European medal.

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