Revista: Guillem Balague says Gareth Bale was not fit to make his Real Madrid debut

Should Bale have started against Villarreal?

Gareth Bale: scored on debut

Guillem Balague fears Gareth Bale could struggle to produce his best form this season and that pressure from the club rushed him into making his full Real Madrid debut before he was ready.

Bale started - and scored - for Real Madrid in their 2-2 draw with Villarreal on Sunday after joining the club for a world-record transfer fee from Tottenham.

The drawn-out transfer saga, along with injuries issues, meant Bale did not have a full pre-season before being pitched into action for Madrid and Balague believes this could lead to burnout this season.

"He has not done pre-season so at some point he is going to dip badly and he will not know how to come out of it - perhaps around Christmas or in the key part of the season," Balague told Revista.

"I think that Carlo Ancelotti, who is a club man, probably either felt it or was told that Bale had to play and Bale started. Was he fit for it? No.

"It was perhaps better to play him in the last half an hour but Ancelotti decided that for club reasons he had to start."

Balague drew comparisons between Bale and his Real Madrid team-mate Luka Modric. The Croatian international initially struggled to produce his best form after also joining Madrid from Tottenham last season and only hit top form in the latter stages of last season and at the start of this.

Although, Balague did suggest that Bale's superior physique could carry him through the season, saying, "Modric and Bale have a different physique so I wonder if that will carry Bale through because he is a physical machine. But only time will tell."

Politics

Fellow Revista pundit Marcelino agreed that there is a danger that Bale will suffer from burnout after being rushed into the Real starting XI. And he suggested that there is perhaps too much influence from the other areas of the club, citing in contrast Barcelona's caution at introducing new signing Neymar into their starting XI.

Marcelino said: "Sometimes you have the feeling from the outside that may be there are too many political decisions at Real Madrid. If you compare this to Barcelona and the Neymar situation, sometimes at Barcelona they do the right thing. And the thing that has to be done for sports decisions."

"The players don't have time for training. They are playing games Wednesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Sunday. So they don't have enough time to work on fitness and specific areas of fitness and they are just thrown on to the pitch and have to perform. Sometimes they are not ready."