Former Tottenham Hotspur manager, Harry Redknapp, thinks that Gareth Bale has a difficult task to acclimatise at Real Madrid.
Redknapp has no doubt that Bale has the ability to justify his status as a player “in the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo”.
But for all his poster boy wardrobe and hairstyling product, Redknapp does not believe that Bale’s “private” personality leaves him comfortable with the attention that comes with being one of the best players on the planet.
Furthermore, Redknapp suggests that in order for Bale to justify his mega transfer fee, he will have to assert himself on Real Madrid’s football, by “stepping out of Ronaldo’s shadow.”
In his new book, which is being serialised in the Daily Mail, Redknapp said of his former charge Bale: “His relationship with Ronaldo is the key to it all, because if the football is going well then all the added stresses are a minor irritation and nothing more.
“His biggest test will be to step out of the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo with confidence. That won’t be easy
“Ronaldo is a huge star at Madrid and will probably want to take nine out of 10 free-kicks - at least. Gareth will have to assert himself and that will require a strong mind. He has to think ‘I’m an £86million player’ and act like it, taking responsibility, claiming the ball when he fancies his chances.
"The one thing the club cannot provide for Gareth and Cristiano is a ball each - so they will need to work hard on that partnership because they are such similar players."
And therein lies the rub for Redknapp.
He does not necessarily believe that Bale has a forceful enough personality to compete with Ronaldo’s over-arching dominance.
He may be good enough to compete with CR7 on a sporting basis, but is he loud enough?
"When he goes it alone, has a shot, misses and Ronaldo starts throwing his arms up in the air ... he cannot, at that point, go into his shell and become this timid little creature,” Redknapp continues.
“But it is not natural for Gareth to behave in an assertive way.
"Don’t get me wrong, he knows he is good ... he wouldn’t have fought so hard to get the deal done if he didn’t fancy his chances of living up to expectations in Madrid. Yet, equally, Gareth is a quiet lad, who spends time with his girlfriend and family. I’m not sure being in the same bracket as Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will suit him.”
Do you agree with Redknapp’s suggestion that Bale must force his way out of CR7’s shadow if he wants to succeed at Real Madrid?