Gareth Bale running out of support at Real Madrid after Bernabeu boos

The whistles aimed at Gareth Bale from the Bernabeu stands during Sunday's 2-2 La Liga draw at home to Valencia were nothing new, as his worth has been regularly questioned in Spain since his €101 million arrival from Tottenham in 2013.

However, there seems to be something different about the reaction to Bale's underwhelming start to the 2017-18 season, with pundits who in previous years have regularly backed the Wales international through difficult moments now joining in the criticism.

Just last May, Josep Pedrerol of La Sexta, who is close to Madrid president Florentino Perez, told viewers: "I don't understand this persecution of Bale," and reminded critics of big moments such as his goals in the 2014 Copa del Rey and Champions League finals.

However on Monday's "El Chiringuito" show, Pedrerol was scathing of Bale's performance and attitude against Valencia.

"It's normal that the fans whistle Bale," Pedrerol said. "What did he do yesterday? Nothing. The fans want players who are committed, players who leave their souls out on the pitch. What commitment has Bale shown? Nothing. After four years he cannot speak Spanish, does not even know how to say "buenos dias" or "buenas tardes.

"But that is the least important, your commitment you show on the pitch, running for the ball, pressuring the opponent, putting the team on your shoulders. Yesterday that was left to [Marco] Asensio, a kid of 21. [Karim] Benzema is criticised for missing chances, but at least he tried. Bale needs to be spoken to, seriously. And if anybody offers €100 million, he must be sold, and you must say 'thank you' in English, as he will not understand anything else."

The less excitable but also well connected Manu Carreno of radio show "El Larguero" argued that a tipping point had been reached, and crossed.

"In my opinion, Gareth Bale is no longer untouchable for [Madrid coach Zinedine] Zidane," Carreno said. "And I believe he is also no longer unsellable for the club.

"They have not stuck a 'for sale' sign on him, but he is no longer untouchable. If someone comes with a big offer, it will be considered, something which two years ago was impossible."

Speaking on Monday's "El Transistor" former Blancos player, manager and sporting director Jorge Valdano, who knows the Bernabeu's corridors of power better than most, said Bale has never really settled at Madrid despite all the backing he has received from those above him at the club.

"Bale is beginning his fifth year at Madrid, and he still finds it very difficult to express himself in Spanish," Valdano said. "Football is a game of mutual understanding. Isolation in the dressing room also becomes an isolation within the team. There is a big connection between how you adapt socially, and how you adapt on the pitch. And you must also say that very few players have had the support, from both the institution and the coaches, that Bale has had. The coaches have backed him a lot, a lot."

Asensio's two superb long-range strikes on Sunday underlined the 21-year-old's emergence as the Bernabeu's latest hero, and Valdano said Bale's first-team place was now seriously threatened.

"Things change at the speed of the sound," Valdano said. "Bale began at Madrid competing with [Cristiano] Ronaldo to be the team's star. Now he is battling for a starting place with Asensio. Modern football is all about today. And Asensio is now the player who most excites and attracts the fans."

Even Zidane appeared to demur on Sunday evening when reporters pressed him on whether Asensio's emergence meant Bale was no longer an automatic pick.

"Gareth is Gareth," were typically cryptic words from the Frenchman, but the substitution of Bale with 15 minutes remaining and the team needing a goal spoke loudest.

The biggest obstacle to ending the relationship now appears to be Bale himself. Last October as he signed a new Madrid contract until 2022, he said returning to the Premier League would be step back in his career. This summer he admitted to frustration over past injuries, but again brushed off the idea of a move "home."

Those comments came even as Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho tried his best all through the summer to unsettle Bale, all the way up to the Super Cup in Skopje in early August, but apparently without receiving any encouragement from the player or his camp.

Zidane said last weekend that he does not want any more changes to his squad this summer, and it seems that Paris Saint-Germain's clinching of a deal for Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe means Madrid do not have a replacement lined up. However, Roberto Palomar in Marca still thinks it is in the club's interest to sell now before the regularly injured 28-year-old's value drops.

"The fountain is almost dry," Palomar said. "Bale is not just ineffective, he plays in another galaxy, lives disconnected, and you never know when you can count on him. The worst is that the Bernabeu is starting to become obsessed with him, and that makes it very difficult to play in this stadium. Madrid have five days to resolve the situation, to use the good press Bale still has in the UK, to take advantage of this crazy market."

Even if it still seems unlikely Bale will move this summer, he is running out of defenders around Madrid. If he now does decide to say "Adios", there will be few complaints at the Bernabeu.