Former Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has hit out at Gareth Bale over the Welshman’s decision to instruct his agent to talk to club president Florentino Perez over his unhappiness rather than approach him directly.
Bale was a key figure for Madrid in Ancelotti’s first season in charge, scoring crucial goals in both the Champions League and Copa del Rey finals.
Ancelotti’s relationship with the former Tottenham star deteriorated in 2014-15, though, as Bale demanded to play in a more central position, much to his coach’s dismay.
“One morning in March I received a phone call from the Madrid general director saying that the president wanted to speak with me at the end of training that day. This was very unusual. When I visited the president, he told me that Bale’s agent had been to his office to speak about the ‘Bale situation’,” Ancelotti writes in his book ‘Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches’.
“In January, Bale’s agent had been saying things and perhaps felt his position was strong because he had already spoken with the president. Now he was telling the president that Bale was unhappy in his position. He wanted to play more centrally.
“The president asked me what we were going to do and I told him ‘Nothing’. It was impossible to change his position at that stage of the season because I would have had to change the whole system and move many more players around. I also told the president that I was surprised the player could not speak directly with me. That would be normal. I would have expected the player to come to see me.
“Bale had fantastic world-class qualities and all that I was trying to do was help him understand his core strengths so he could fulfil his potential and by the way, that I was more qualified than his agent or the president to help him with that.
“I told the president that I would speak with Bale myself the next day, which I did after training. I told him ‘I know that your agent spoke to the president. Why didn’t you come to speak with me about what you want?’. He said ‘Yes, OK, no problem.’
“I explained to him what I had said to the president, how it was impossible for me to change the system as it wasn’t just one position, it was the whole team. I was clear with him. I told him that we could try some things in the summer, next year’s pre-season, to change his position, but not now.”
Ancelotti eventually lost his job at the end of the 2014-15 campaign as Madrid ended the season trophyless.