Gareth Bale Accused of Embarrassing Dive After Real Madrid vs. Sevilla
The Welsh forward—who netted a brace and provided two assists during the La Liga game—failed to win a penalty from referee Jose Antonio Teixeira Vitienes when he hit the deck in the second half.
As reported by Dermot Corrigan of ESPN, Canal Plus reporter Ricardo Sierra challenged the 24-year-old with a direct question after the match:
We have seen something which is not usual for a player who has been in the Premier League -- going down in the area with no touch from the defender. What happened?
Bale replied: Yeah, I was going at pace, and to be honest I felt a touch...
Sierra reiterated there was no touch, and Bale quickly developed his story, per ESPN’s article:
"I felt something. I thought he was going to pull a leg out on me, so as usual I try and avoid the contact. But, er, it was not a penalty and we move on."
As with many who move to Real Madrid, Bale has been under intense scrutiny during his opening weeks with the club, which have been amplified by his £85 million transfer fee.
The former Tottenham player has suffered muscle fatigue since heading to the Bernabeu, as reported by Jack de Menezes of The Independent, and was criticised for a poor performance during Los Blancos’ recent El Clasico loss.
Barcelona-based newspaper El Mundo labelled Bale "irrelevant" and suggested Madrid "continue to play better when their star signing is not on the pitch," as relayed by The Telegraph.
The same report also picks up on Marca comments slamming the player's lack of impact. Notoriously a Madrid-favouring paper, columnist Ruben Jimenez pulled no punches in his review of Bale’s performance:
Real Madrid's worst performer at the Nou Camp was Gareth Bale.
The Welshman was not match ready, does not have enough spark and a series of mistakes made by Real Madrid, the Welsh national team and the player himself hang heavily around his neck, hindering his progress.
Bale was regularly goaded for diving in the Premier League. In December 2012, he was highlighted as having the most bookings for simulation in the English top flight, per John Drayton of the Daily Mail:
The talented player denied being a diver before this statistic was released and once again suggested he was trying to move away from a potentially career-threatening injury, per The Telegraph:
If people want to say I'm diving then they can, but I'm trying to get out of the way and save myself, save my career if you like.
It's a bit annoying (when people say I dive) but you've got people flying in at you, you're trying to get out of the way of the challenge. If you stand there, you're going to get a whack.
In lieu of his recent accusation, Marca has run a poll aiming to highlight where Bale’s recent mishap ranks alongside an array of famous incidents.
Is Gareth Bale a diver?
Bale's "attempt" was ranked third at the time of writing with 14.1 percent of the vote, loitering behind Neymar’s dive against Uruguay in the Confederations Cup and Bryan Carrasco’s hilarious 2011 effort for Chile’s Under-20 side.
Despite performing brilliantly during the Sevilla clash, Bale can expect to continue receiving a battering from Spanish press whenever he makes a mistake. Such is life at the Bernabeu.
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