Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has revealed that Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos opted not to join their team-mates for a recent squad dinner, with the former's love of golf earning him a nickname in the dressing room.
Courtois spoke to Belgian outlet HLN (h/t the Mirror's Simon Mullock), and said that whereas Brazilian Marcelo is known as "Samba," captain Sergio Ramos is "a leader" and Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric is "a genius," Bale is known as "the golfer."
"It is very hard to describe Gareth in one word," he added. "I would say he has so much talent, but that it is such a shame that so often that talent is blocked from shining."
The winger is a well-known golf enthusiast and has had three famous holes recreated in the garden of his home in Wales.
Courtois elaborated on Bale, who has struggled to settle in Madrid despite being in his sixth season at the Santiago Bernabeu:
"I live like somebody who is born and bred in Madrid. I eat late, I go bed late, it is their way of life.
"The other night we had a dinner with the entire squad, but Bale and [Toni] Kroos did not turn up. They reckoned the dinner was too late at night.
"We had arranged to be in the restaurant at 9.30 p.m. and we started out meal around 10:15 p.m. and by midnight we were having coffee.
"We go to bed at around 1 a.m. We have to train every morning at 11 a.m. I think that is a perfect time.
"But Bale had told us 'I am not coming to join you, guys. I go to bed at 11.'"
On January 28, Ramos posted a picture of Los Blancos' first-team squad at a restaurant to Instagram, and Bale and Kroos are not present in the shot.
The former's difficulty adapting to life in Spain was recently brought back into focus after Marcelo revealed Bale still has little grasp of the language:
Despite the struggles he's faced in Madrid, he has produced 100 goals and 63 assists in 218 appearances for Los Blancos.
In that time, he's won four UEFA Champions League titles and La Liga once. In his four European finals, he has scored three goals, and he also scored the winner for Real in the 2014 Copa del Rey final.
The difficulty he has had in adapting evidently hasn't prevented him from making some vital contributions, though it won't have made his time at the club any easier. Nor will the frequent injury problems that have beset him over the years.
Following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure last summer, Real are in need of players such as Bale to step up in his absence.
The Welshman hasn't quite managed that—he's netted just six times in 18 La Liga matches this term, for example—but he could still have a big role to play in any silverware Madrid win in the coming months.