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Van der Vaart: Bale is lonely at Real Madrid

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Rafael van der Vaart thinks his former team-mate Gareth Bale may be a “bit lonely” at Real Madrid as doubt over his future grows.

The Welsh winger is going through, arguably, his most difficult campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu upon struggles to insert himself into Santiago Solari’s line-up on a regular basis.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure for Juventus last summer was expected to finally be Bale’s great chance to shine at Real after six seasons.

Instead, the 29-year-old has been unable to step up for Los Blancos this term with manager Solari instead opting to start Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior on the flanks.

Meanwhile, Bale’s relationship with the club supporters and media fails to show any signs of improvement either, with team-mate Thibaut Courtois recently slamming his efforts to integrate himself in Spain.

And things only got seemingly worse last Sunday when Bale refused to celebrate his match-winner against Levante UD in La Liga.

Now former Real midfielder Van der Vaart, who previously played alongside Bale at Tottenham between 2010 to 2012, has given his verdict of the Welsh star’s problems.

“He is a very calm player. He wants to be alone, he doesn’t have much contact with his team-mates,” Van der Vaart told El Larguero.

“In Spain, it is important to speak Spanish and I think he is a bit lonely in the team.

“I’m a little surprised at what’s happening at Real Madrid with Gareth Bale. He’s a very good player.

“At Real, you always have to play well and there’s more pressure than at Tottenham and I think that’s a problem for him.”

Bale has managed 13 goals and five assists in 31 appearances across all competitions for Real this season.

After failing to start in their last two games, however, it’s uncertain whether Solari will start Bale in tonight’s second leg against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

The aggregate score between the Spanish giants is 1-1 for tonight’s game, which will take place at the Bernabeu and begin at 9:00 PM (CET).

VITORIA-GASTEIZ, SPAIN – OCTOBER 06: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid CF looks on during the La Liga match between Deportivo Alaves and Real Madrid CF at Estadio de Mendizorroza on October 6, 2018 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)