Bale not guaranteed a starting spot at Real Madrid
It seems that the age when mega money transfers commanded a starting place almost instantly is in the past – at least in the case of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Signed for close to £50 million, Neymar has been largely a substitute for Barcelona, although it is probably due to the greater difficulty settling in coming from the Brazilian league. Real Madrid assistant coach Paul Clement has surprised everyone by stating that £86 million man Gareth Bale is not a certain starter for the Spanish club.
Madrid have gone to great lengths to bring in Bale. It has been reported that they have taken a bank loan of close to £100 million in order to complete the deal, which will see Tottenham get the transfer money almost immediately. Bale is also going to be paid a humongous £300,000 for a week, which makes him one of the highest-paid players in the world. They have also sold Mesut Ozil, who has been one of the consistent players in the last three years, in order to fund this deal.
"There's a lot of competition for places - no-one will be guaranteed anything. Coach Carlo Ancelotti has a clear idea how to use him but things can change," said Clement to the BBC.
Clement, though, says that no player is guaranteed a first-team spot, but it is difficult to imagine Ronaldo accepting such a situation. Pressure will be extremely high on Bale partly because of the pressure that is always on Real Madrid players, but also because of the world-record transfer fee.
Bale has been playing in a free role for Tottenham since the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas.
"Carlo is flexible enough to use Gareth and other players in different capacities. He [Bale] recently became more central. He's got that versatility," he added.
He started out as a left back before being converted into a left winger by former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp. In many ways, he is similar to Ronaldo and that could pose a lot of problems for Carlo Ancelotti. Clement acknowledged that Bale has been playing more centrally in recent times, but he refused to reveal anything about Ancelotti's master plan.