Bale is in the final year of his contract with Real, after joining them in 2013. | MDB files


Spanish sports media launched a scathing attack on Gareth Bale on Friday, calling him a "parasite" and accusing him of faking a back injury that kept him out of Real Madrid's humiliating loss to Barcelona at the weekend, four days before he scored both goals in Wales's win over Austria.

The Welsh captain helped his team to beat Austria 2-1 on Thursday to put themselves into a playoff final, against Scotland or Ukraine, for a place in the World Cup finals in Qatar later this year in what would be their first appearance at the tournament since 1958.

The 32-year-old Bale has played only a handful of games at Real Madrid this season and Spanish media criticised him for missing their 4-0 home loss in the Clasico on Sunday with an apparent back injury.

"Bale. Go. Home. Now. In that order," read the headline on a column by AS editor-in-chief Tomas Roncero.

"Last night he rose again, as a kind of Braveheart of the country of the Dragon with a formidable performance. Real Madrid would be proud of him if it weren't for the fact that four days ago he left the team stranded, alluding to a false back injury, and miserably erased himself from the Clasico against Barca."

Bale is in the final year of his contract with Real, after joining them in 2013, and spent last season on loan at Tottenham Hotspur. His recent time in Spain has been blighted by injury.
Asked after the Austria game if he had a message for his critics, Bale said: "No. I don't need to send a message. It's a waste of my time; it's disgusting and they should all be ashamed of themselves."

Daily newspaper Marca ran a headline that said "The Welsh parasite" and columnist Manuel Julia criticised Bale's work ethic at Real.

"He settled in Spain, at Real Madrid, where he sucks the blood (and the euros) of his host without giving anything in return. Unlike others of its kind, such as the flea, the louse or the bedbug, the Parasite Bale does not cause itching or diseases, he just laugh with jocular contempt in a humiliating ceremony, which, luckily, has an expiration date, like all misfortunes."

Diario AS said the winger had played only four of Real's 29 league games this season and did not attend the Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu to support his colleagues.

Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo said: "With Wales sure he delivers. Neither discomfort nor pain, Bale showed with his national team what his priorities are."

The second playoff semi-final, between Scotland and Ukraine, has been postponed until June because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Bale's contract with Real expires in June.