Barcelona 2 Real Madrid 1 - El Clasico: 'Invisible' Gareth Bale slammed by Spanish press while Luis Suarez receives the plaudits

'Another big night where Bale goes missing,' Marca wrote

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The Independent Football

Two of the Premier League’s most recent stars were in the spotlight in the aftermath of Barcelona’s crucial 2-1 Clasico victory over Real Madrid on Sunday night – for very different reasons.

Former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, last season’s PFA Player of the Season, took the plaudits in the Spanish press after his sublime finish, his 15 goal of the season and seventh in as many matches, decided the 170 league meeting between the Spanish giants and sent Barcelona four points clear at La Liga’s summit.

Gareth Bale, who won the same PFA accolade in 2012-13 before swapping Tottenham Hotspur for Real Madrid in a world-record transfer fee, did not get such acclaim in a match where he struggled to provide an impact despite a confidence-boosting two-goal haul in his previous outing against Levante.

“Beyond his disallowed goal he did nothing,” said Spanish sports daily Marca. “In the second half he was invisible.”


“Another big night where Bale goes missing,” Marca continued. “His offensive contribution practically stopped after the disallowed goal.” The Welshman scored big goals for Madrid last season, notably in the Champions League final and the Copa del Rey final, where he scored one of the goals of the season against Barcelona. Marca noted that he has struggled at big stadiums in La Liga, however, with Bale unable to find the net at stadiums such as the Camp Nou, Athletic Bilbao’s San Mames, Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon, Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan and Valencia’s Mestalla.

Marca called Bale “The Castaway”, labelling him the worst player on the pitch. “He began the match hinting that he could help out and ended up going missing, being disoriented and without an impact on the game. The right side of the Madrid team ended up being a notable deficit.”

The 25-year-old scored the lowest in the paper’s player ratings with 4.5 out of ten, but it was at least more than the rating, or non-rating, AS gave him. Bale was the only player not be awarded a score from the match, with the front page of AS saying that “Bale failed again”. It added: “He began by helping at the back defensively but that soon diluted and he disappeared. In the second half he went unnoticed.”

In contrast, Suarez was picked out as the star man. “In the end, the plaudits go to Luis Suarez and his goal which decided this Clasico,” said Marca. “Suarez celebrated his goal with the veins in his neck standing out, because in the shot across Casillas, there was a lot more than just a goal to make it 2-1. It was a cry of freedom after months of many wagging their tongue, doubting the player’s real worth.” Marca added: “Out of the six attackers involved, one came out clear winner: Luis Suarez.”


Barcelona-based sports daily Mundo Deportivo also piled the praise on Barcelona’s “other trident” of goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and defenders Jeremy Mathieu, who scored the opener with his first Liga goal for the club, and Gerard Pique, who was monumental at the heart of the home defence.

The newspaper nicknamed former Manchester United defender Pique as “Piquenbauer”. It said that “a game with much intrigue delivered unexpected heroes” and added that “a colossal Bravo kept goal with his gloves, a majestic Pique provided an antidote to the poison of a great Real Madrid and Mathieu scored the goal to put Barca on the road to victory.”

Mundo Deportivo also highlighted the goal of Suarez as being one that could eventually see Barcelona win the league and its two-page match report led with the headline that Luis Enrique’s men won “with character and with punch”. Santi Nolla, the newspaper’s director, said was it a “deserved victory”.

The front page of Sport was dedicated to Suarez’s goal celebration and declared “a blow to Madrid”. The Barcelona-based newspaper acknowledged that the Catalans had to overcome a “very intense Madrid” to secure three points they believe put Barcelona halfway to the title.

“Madrid played a great game at the Camp Nou,” said Albert Masnou. “But even so it is Barcelona who edged a little closer to winning the title.” He added that “the saves of Bravo and the performance of the centre-backs saved Barcelona when Madrid had victory in their hands.”