Gareth Bale celebrated his 31st birthday on Thursday by adding another La Liga winners’ medal to his collection.
But it must have been a bittersweet experience for the Welshman who, for the sixth game in a row, was an unused substitute.
It’s patently clear that Bale doesn’t feature in Zinedine Zidane’s future plans and a summer exit is for the forward is now surely inevitable.
Bale has irritated everyone associated with Real Madrid in recent weeks with his eyebrow-raising behaviour on the bench.
In the 2-0 win over Alaves, Bale was seen wearing his face mask over his eyes while reclining in his seat. And he looked similarly disinterested days later during the 2-1 victory over Granada, at one point using a roll of wrist tape as a telescope.
Bale watched on again as his teammates registered another 2-1 win over Villarreal at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano.
And after the final whistle, he awkwardly made his way onto the pitch, wearing his Real Madrid gear, for the title celebrations.
Madrid’s players celebrated by giving Zidane the bumps and Bale, unsurprisingly, was the player stood furthest away from the pack.
As ESPN put it, this was Bale with his best Ashley Cole impression…
For those who've never seen the photo, this was Cole at AS Roma...
There were more Cole vibes from Bale, who was stood on the far right joining in awkwardly, in this video…
And there were similar scenes during the trophy lift. Bale, stood miles away from the trophy on the right-hand side, could not have looked less part of the team...
It’s a shame that Bale’s career is ending this way. After all, he’s been a top player for Los Blancos over the years.
Since completing his big-money move from Tottenham in 2013, Bale has scored 105 goals in 251 games and helped the Spanish giants win a host of major honours, including four Champions Leagues.
But, for whatever reasons, he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Zidane and a move away from the Bernabeu this summer will be the best outcome for all concerned.
The vast majority of the squad clearly have a very different relationship with Zidane.
Sergio Ramos told reporters after the match, per Goal.com: "Everything Zidane touches turns into gold.
"We believe in him and in his work. He's the one who has to make the difference, he's a person who trusts players, and few do.
"We hope he stays here for a very long time, he is unique."
On Madrid’s latest title triumph, the talismanic defender added: "The title is a reward for work, consistency and balance. What we have done has great value, despite what they may say.
“Work, when you do it right, is rewarded. There is a lot of merit in winning these 10 games in a row.
“It was an atypical season, we had to win everything, we did not depend on ourselves at the start. The margin of error did not exist in our heads and we have shown it.
"These matches cannot be won comfortably. We have 34 Ligas and this is my fifth with Real Madrid, I am very happy. "
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