Real Madrid defeated Real Sociedad in a La Liga match that saw Croatian midfielder Luka Modric shine with two assists and a goal while the home fans at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium punished Welsh winger Gareth Bale for his recent off-field attitude.

The team from the Spanish capital on Saturday night had to overcome an early deficit as the Basque rivals pounced upon a terrible backpass by Sergio Ramos to Thibaut Courtois, whose streak of 535 minutes without receiving a goal came to an end in the game’s first minute as Willian José rounded the Belgian goalie and snuck the ball in past the line, reports Efe news.

The leveller came just before half-time, when Modric put in a beautiful free kick that was shouldered into the goal by French striker Karim Benzema in the 37th minute.

Madrid’s second goal arrived right after the break with Modric assisting young midfielder Fede Valverde, whose powerful shot from outside the area was deflected by Sociedad’s defence, leaving its goalkeeper Alejandro Remiro without any options to block it.

Bale entered the pitch after he was subbed in for Rodrygo in the 66th minute. The stadium’s noise levels exploded as fans mercilessly jeered their once-coveted star over a gesture that has been perceived as insulting towards the club.

The winger, who a few years ago was the most expensive transfer in soccer history, appeared with the Welsh national team after another of his frequent injuries while smiling and holding a flag of Wales that sported the slogan “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.”

That cheeky jab was clearly not appreciated by Madrid fans.

Nonetheless, Bale was an active participant in the capital team’s third goal, as he sent home a cross that Benzema gently headed down near the penalty spot and Modric smashed into the goal with a flawless left-footed strike.

Real Sociedad put up a good fight, but ultimately was unable to prevail in one of the toughest stadiums in the Spanish league. Following this defeat, the team from San Sebastian is fifth in the standings with 23 points, just five points behind FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, who are now jointly leading the table.