Gareth Bale: Real Madrid winger 'made a scapegoat' - Ray Wilkins

Gareth Bale
Bale has scored 16 goals in 49 appearances for Wales

Wales winger Gareth Bale has been made a "scapegoat" at Real Madrid, says former England midfielder Ray Wilkins.

The 25-year-old has received criticism from Real fans and sections of the Spanish media this season.

He was jeered after he missed several chances during Wednesday's Champions League semi-final defeat by Juventus.

"I feel a bit sorry for Gareth. I think he's been made a bit of a scapegoat," said Wilkins, who had spells with AC Milan and Paris St-Germain.

"Last year he had an exceptional first season and it was always going to be extremely difficult to keep that standard up this year.

"He may have slipped slightly below it on several occasions but these things do happen.

"It's a tall order when you play in foreign countries because the fans like the foreign players to be the difference between winning or losing."

Bale became the world's most expensive player when he was signed in a £85.3m deal from Premier League side Tottenham in September 2013.

The former Southampton trainee scored 22 goals during his debut season in Spain, helping Madrid win the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.

Ray Wilkins
Wilkins left Manchester United to join AC Milan in 1984

He has scored 17 in the current campaign but says Bale says he will return stronger for Real Madrid next season and his agent Jonathan Barnett has insisted the Welshman would not be leaving the Bernabeu.

Reports have linked him with a return to the Premier League with Manchester United, but former United midfielder Wilkins does not think a summer move to Old Trafford is on the cards.

"I think over the whole period it's worked out well for Gareth," Wilkins added.

"I sincerely hope he has no reservations about staying because I'd like to see him stay there and prove a lot of people wrong.

"United will always be in for big players, but I just don't see Gareth joining."

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