Jose Mourinho Explains Gareth Bale Absence, Creates More Confusion


There is still plenty of time left in this season to turn it around, but thus far, the Garrth Bale return to Tottenham Hotspur has been all sizzle and not steak. Bounced from the FA Cup in the fifth round tonight, by Everton in an exciting 5-4 scoreline, Spurs were once again without Gareth Bale, this time due to a mysterious muscular injury.

Manager Jose Mourinho expounded on that a bit, but before we cover the special one’s remarks, it’s interesting to look back on just how we got here. Late 2020, a feature story published in an American business magazine headlined the north London outfit as building a super club.

They used the examples of the new stadium, the loan deal that brought Bale back this fall, having Mourinho as a manager and signing Alex Morgan to the women’s team. At first glance, this sounds like a rock solid theory and a great idea for a story. 

Bale broke the world transfer fee record when Tottenham sold him to Real Madrid, Morgan is the most iconic women’s player alive and Mourinho is as much a true trophy machine as you’ll find anywhere in world football today. 

Upon further inspection though, this narrative is way off the mark, and the idea is a big swing and miss. Morgan only made five appearances and scored just two goals before heading back to America. 

alex morgan

Mourinho has undoubtedly lost some proverbial zip on his managerial fastball, and as 2020 turned to 2021, Spurs were outside the top four and he had already publicly called out the motivation of his own players, on at least a handful of occasions.

(If only he knew somebody who could do something about motivating his football team?)

As for Bale, injuries have taken a cumulative toll on him and he’s just not the player he used to be. Through the first 15 league games of the season, he contributed just one goal. 

“Well I think it’s better for me to say,” Mourinho responded when asked about Bale after the match.

“So we played against West Bromwich on the Sunday and he didn’t play.”

“On Monday I was a little bit surprised by him wanting to have a scan because he was not comfortable with some muscular area.

“So he didn’t train on Monday, and then on Tuesday he trained with the team, but I was informed that his desire would be to work with the sports science for a couple of days to strengthen that area.

“That’s the reason why he’s not here.”

Mourinho’s remarks came just 24 hours after the Welshman shared a picture of himself training on Instagram:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Gareth Bale (@garethbale11)

Hmmmm. Quite perplexing. What is going on here?

Here’s what Mourinho said to the television broadcast, prior to the press availability:

“I would not say an injury, not at all, just some feelings he was not happy with so it was better to stay back and work with the sports science guys.”  (BT Sport, via Football.London)

Again, no real clarification into this situation. Since the calendar flipped from 2020 to 2021, Gareth Bale has only played four times in Tottenham’s 11 matches.

They are simply not getting much return on their investment right now.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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