Real Madrid has labelled Gareth Bale's "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order" flag celebration "a joke in very bad taste," according to ESPN FC.
The Wales skipper was pictured joking with teammates while posing with the fan-made banner after his side secured Euro 2020 qualification in Cardiff on Tuesday with a 2-0 win over Hungary.
WALES. GOLF. MADRID 🏴👏 pic.twitter.com/o1tG7hZzaw— ⚽ Sgorio (@sgorio) November 19, 2019
An image of the flag has been front-page news in Madrid, and it's unlikely to improve his relationship with the club'ss fans, which already seems to be on shaky ground.
Bale has faced consistent criticism of his injury record in the Spanish capital, as well as his commitment to the Real Madrid cause. It's thought that this incident will only serve to further damage the fragile relationship between Bale and Madridistas.
Senior club figures have mentioned that there is "anger, but also indifference" at the latest in a long line of incidents causing tension between the player and the support base. It's reported that members of the Real Madrid squad found the celebration funny, however.
29-year-old Bale has not played for Madrid since October when he picked up an injury with Wales, before returning to fitness just in time for this latest international break.
On Friday he admitted to feeling "more excitement playing for Wales" than he does for Real Madrid.
"With Wales, I'm speaking my own language and feeling more comfortable," he said. "It's like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday."
He added: "I've tried to get back as quick as I can. If there had been a Real Madrid game this week, I would've been fit. Maybe to them, it doesn't look great but it's just a kind of coincidence."
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane earlier this month ruled out the possibility of Bale leaving the club in January, maintaining that he is counting on him "until the end of the season."
Bale came close to leaving the Bernabéu this summer but the club decided to pull the plug on the move.
Real Madrid returns to La Liga action on Saturday against Real Sociedad with both sides involved in a congested title race where just two points separate the top five teams. If Bale is selected in the squad, and that looks in doubt, he's likely to receive a frosty reception.
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