Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has cast praise on Gareth Bale's ability but also seemingly took a shot at his teammate's off-field behaviour at the club.
Despite playing a starring role at the club in recent seasons, and indeed in this campaign so far, Bale has become a peripheral figure at Real and has been widely criticised for his refusal to learn Spanish or integrate with his teammates.
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The 30-year-old, who has also been accused of spending too much time on the golf course, has constantly defended his behaviour and has silenced many of his critics with his early-season form.
Los Blancos skipper Ramos has since commented on the media frenzy surrounding Bale, reserving praise for the role the Welsh superstar has played in the club's recent success, but also seemingly suggested he had not been entirely honest with the press.
"I think Bale's a great player and he's been really important for the club in the years he's been with us," Ramos said, as reported by The Independent.
"Regarding what has been said about Gareth, I think time puts everything in place. Regardless of what each player does in his personal life, I think it should be respected and not even talked about. We're free to do what we want with our free time.
"Of course, professionally, you owe yourself to a team, to a club, and you try to be as honest as possible. Afterwards, it's up to each person to go home with a clear conscience or not."
Bale joined Real for a then-world record fee of €100.8 million (R1.6 billion) and has scored 104 goals in 234 appearances for the club since.
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