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Bale is a distracted player and football not his priority - Capello

01:47 GMT 05/01/2020
Gareth Bale Real Madrid 2019-20
The former Real Madrid boss believes the Wales forward is losing his focus as speculation about his future continues

Gareth Bale is a distracted plater who is no longer fully focused on football, according to former Real Madrid boss Fabio Capello.

Speculation about the Welshman’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu has been raging for months.

Real boss Zinedine Zidane made it clear he wanted the former Tottenham forward to leave last summer but no transfer materialised. The closest Bale came to a departure was a proposed move to China that collapsed shortly before the transfer deadline.

The Wales international returned to the Real fold but has struggled for regular action under Zidane this season, with a persistent calf injury also hampering his progress.

His cause was not helped when he posed with a Wales flag saying “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order” after helping his country qualify for this summer’s European Championships in November.

The Real supporters were enraged with the 30-year-old’s actions and he was jeered when coming on as a substitute against Real Sociedad the following week.

Capello feels Bale’s deteriorating relationship with the Spanish giants is symptomatic of a player who has lost his focus - something that dooms an elite level athlete to failure.

“Bale is a potentially fantastic player,” Capello told the Mail. “My impression that football is no longer a priority in life. Bale seems to me a distracted player - I like him a lot, he's strong and fast, perfect for modern football.

“If you want to be a champion today, though, you have to be 100 per cent attentive and focused only on your sporting life.”

Capello also feels his former side have struggled to move on from the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus in 2018.

The subsequent upheaval led to the departures of manager Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, with Zidane making a dramatic return to the club in March shortly after their defence of the Champions League was ended by a last-16 thrashing by Ajax.

“Cristiano is fundamental for every team [he plays in]," added the former England boss, who had two spells as Real manager in the 1990's and 2000's, winning the La Liga title on each occasion. 

“Real Madrid suffered from his farewell and while [Karim] Benzema took his place, they lost a mental and technical leader.”

Real beat Getafe 3-0 on their return to La Liga on Saturday following the winter break to briefly move top of the table, before Barcelona returned to the summit on goal difference courtesy of a draw against Espanyol.