The boy Bale is undoubtedly going through what you might call a rebirth. No longer content with being what he obviously believes to be an admittedly lightening fast one trick pony who owns the left wing, his transition into a more central, Ronaldoesque figure is almost complete.
All we are waiting for is for the fine tuning if you like. The balance between him being an as effective team player and a regular goalscorer. The signs after only 7 games in are generally encouraging.
But then there’s the diving.
There are a number of issues here. The first is that he never used to dive. I never had the privilege of watching Didier Drogba prior to his shift at Second Hand Fridge so for the entirety of the time I watched him play in the Premier League he was a rotten, cheating diver.
The next is that cheats don’t prosper. That may make me sound like some Victorian school teacher but hear me out. When footballers hang up their boots and all they are left with is some money in the bank, some memories and their reputation.
Jimmy Greaves: Prolific barely describes his goalscoring. Reputation? Can be a bit prickly. Gary Lineker: Top notch player. Reputation? Housewife’s choice. Sol Campbell: One of the finest centre backs of the last 20 years. Reputation? Lots of people wouldn’t save him if he was drowning.
Gareth Bale needs to seriously sit down with someone he listens to and watch tapes of him simulating and decide …to stop it. And I think I know what Bale might say if you could get him to speak candidly about the subject.
While there are players like Charlie Adam in circulation and you have referees who fail to see every unlawful attack then it’s only right that you [the victim] do what you can to protect yourself from and try to stamp out these unfair and potentially dangerous challenges.
But this is naive. The reality is that until effective technology comes in the referee will miss things. The game is so fast and athletic now that in the thick of it the odd kick or worse will literally be quicker than the human eye.
Diving isn’t the answer. Is it? For every free kick he dubiously wins a small piece of his credibility is chipped away. Or am I missing something?
Luis Suarez this weekend plumbed new depths to the extent that he actually made a laughing stock of himself. The ‘cry wolf routine’ is so exhausted with Suarez now that an opponent could whip out a baseball bat, thump him over the head with it and most referees would jog past the concussed Uruguayan, waving ‘get up’.
Bale must stop diving.