Bale lonely at Real Madrid – Van der Vaart
Gareth Bale may be a bit lonely at Real Madrid as uncertainty grows over his future, according to Rafael van der Vaart.
Bale, 29, has started Madrid's past two matches on the bench, coming on to score the winner from the penalty spot against Levante on Sunday.
But the Wales star celebrated angrily, leading to fresh speculation about his future at Madrid, where he arrived from Tottenham in 2013.
Bale's former Spurs team-mate Van der Vaart said the star attacker liked his space, but feels he may be struggling in Spain.
"He is a very calm player. He wants to be alone, he doesn't have much contact with his team-mates," he told El Larguero on Tuesday.
"In Spain it is important to speak Spanish and I think he is a bit lonely in the team."
Bale, who has scored 13 goals in 31 games this campaign, is into his sixth season at the Santiago Bernabeu and is contracted until 2022.
Former Madrid attacker Van der Vaart feels Bale might be battling due to expectations in the Spanish capital.
"I'm a little surprised at what's happening at Real Madrid with Gareth Bale," he said. "He's a very good player.
"At Real, you always have to play well and there's more pressure than at Tottenham and I think that's a problem for him."
Madrid host Barcelona in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals on Wednesday, with the tie locked at 1-1.