Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari says he will not urge the club’s fans to lay off Gareth Bale when Barcelona visit the Bernabeu on Saturday evening.The Wales forward has endured a hostile reception from some supporters in recent weeks and refused to celebrate his winning penalty at Levante last weekend, appearing to shrug off team-mates in the process. That goal came after Bale was introduced as a second-half substitute, a role he has had to get used to since returning from a calf problem in late January.
He was left on the bench again in Wednesday’s 3-0 Copa del Rey loss at home to Barcelona. Ahead of this weekend’s El Clasico, Solari has defended the treatment Bale has received, both from the fans and the club. “I have nothing to say to the fans,” the Argentinian said at a press conference.
“Everyone knows Gareth and knows what he has given to this club. The fans at the Bernabeu are very respectful.” On his recent use of the Welshman as an impact player off the bench, Solari added: “Gareth has played every game since he came back and has scored several goals. He has been decisive in previous seasons and in the last Champions League.”