Real Madrid footballer Luka Modric has asserted that Welsh International Gareth Bale deserves more respect at the club after having contributed majorly since arriving from Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspurs. The Balon’Dor winner also brushed aside claims that Bale would be departing from the club. In recent times, the forward has been heavily criticised notably from the club’s own fans itself, making his current situation at the club very dicey amidst strong transfer links from the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Modric also said that the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo had affected the team, and although some players had taken his position, the substitution of the Real Madrid all-time top scorer would be difficult if expected from an individual.

“Bale is fine. He looks good to me but what I can say about every player is that at stages of their career they don’t feel great and that happens to everyone. It has happened to me in the past. He looks happy to me and with the desire to do well,” Modric said ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Ajax.

“We cannot forget what he has done for this team. It seems people forget everything easily and you cannot forget what he has done, even if he is not in his best form at present. He works hard. He has got the desire and he wants to return to the usual Bale and help the team for the rest of the season,” he said.

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The 33-year-old Modric reflected on his club’s loss to Barcelona twice in such a short period of time, saying: “Losing two games against your biggest rival is not something that makes you feel good. We are hurt, but the important thing is that tomorrow’s game comes very soon and there is no time to dwell on it.”

Though Santiago Solari refused to discuss Bale’s recent conduct during the press conference on February 26 on the eve of the Spanish Cup’s semifinals, the Argentine coach did shoot a backhanded poke at the Welshman, saying: “Our fans are our only undisputed starting player, and I would ask all of them to come (and support the team).”

Bale played well in Madrid’s match, sealing the 2-1 win over Levante on Sunday in La Liga.

Yet, after the goal, in the midst of a supposed-celebration, the 29-year-old pushed the arms of Spain midfielder Lucas Vazquez off of his shoulder.

The Welsh international star was expected to rise to prominence following Ronaldo’s departure over the summer from Madrid to Juventus, but it seemed like Bale’s position as a substitute was set to continue under coach Solari’s new system.

During his career in Madrid, Bale has often played as substitute despite his historic overhead kick at the 2018 UEFA Champions League final in Kiev, Ukraine, which allowed Madrid to claim its 13th CL title.

(IANS Inputs)