IT should have been the opportunity of a lifetime.
A big money move from the Premiership to the heady heights of Spain’s capital city, famous for its late night lifestyle and buzzing social scene.
But Gareth Bale might have been better off on the Costas, as he has failed to pick up the lingo and prefers a game of golf than a slap up dinner with his Real Madrid teammates.
The Welsh forward, breaking the Real Madrid Transfer News headline in 2013 – signed from Tottenham for around €90 million – mostly heads to bed early, avoiding la cena with his colleagues.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who joined the side from Chelsea last summer, suggested that Bale, 29, has still not adapted to the Spanish lifestyle despite being at the club for SIX years.
In contrast, Courtois insisted: “I live like somebody who is born and bred in Madrid. I eat late, I go to bed late…it is their way of life.
“The other night we had dinner with the entire squad. But Bale and (the German midfielder) Toni Kroos did not turn up. They reckoned the dinner was too late at night.
“We had arranged to be in the restaurant at 9.30pm and we started our meal around 10.15pm … and by midnight we were having coffee.”
The Frenchman added the squad go to bed at about 1am, and train each morning at 11am.
He said: “I think that is a perfect time. But Bale has told us: ‘I am not coming to join you guys. I go to bed at 11.’”
Another teammate, Marcelo, confirmed that the footballer from Cardiff, does not speak Spanish. “He only speaks English and we talk with gestures,” said the Brazilian.
This comes after years of negative treatment by the Spanish press, who dubbed the Welsh winger ‘Mister Glass’ after persistent injuries.