Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale has promised to “come back stronger” next season and quashed media speculation he might leave the club he joined in 2013 for a world record fee.
The Welsh international had a disappointing second year in Spain as his team failed to win a major trophy, prompting the sacking of coach Carlo Ancelotti on Monday.
Whistled by some fans at Real’s Bernabeu stadium, Bale’s agent raised eyebrows this month when he complained the 25-year-old’s team mates were not passing the ball to him enough and he has also been criticised for what some perceive as selfishness in front of goal.
Reports in England have suggested he might leave, with Manchester United apparently interested in signing the former Tottenham Hotspur man.
However, Bale took to Twitter on Tuesday to say he would be vying for titles again with the world’s richest club by income in 2014-15.
“Not the end of the season we had hoped for, we always want to win trophies,” Bale wrote.
“Will be working hard in the off season and looking forward to coming back next season stronger with @realmadrid.”
Bale’s woes have marked a startling turnaround for a player who scored in the finals of the Champions League and the King’s Cup last term.
He has scored 17 goals in 48 outings in all competitions this season, compared with 22 in 44 appearances in 2013-14.
Bale has also produced slightly fewer assists, setting up 11 goals for team mates after 12 the previous year.
The statistics are similar but according to a survey of 725 Real members conducted by market research firm SigmaDos for Marca sports daily, Bale rated five out of 10 for the season.
That compared unfavourably with Portuguese team mate Cristiano Ronaldo who scored 7.8 after netting a La Liga-best 48 goals and 61 in all competitions.