Wales captain Gareth Bale has hit back at Spanish newspaper Marca for a column which described him as a “parasite”.
Bale has been criticised in Madrid for being perceived to be more committed to playing for Wales than Real Madrid.
He scored twice against Austria on Thursday to take Wales to a World Cup play-off final, says he wants to use his profile to “change the way we publicly talk and criticise people”.
“The everyday pressure on athletes is immense,” Bale wrote on social media.
The column in Spanish news publication Marca accused Bale, who joined Real Madrid from Tottenham for a world-record fee of £85m in 2013, of “sucking the club’s money”.
The WELSH CAPTAIN has won 14 trophies with Real, including four Champions League titles, but he has been criticised, particularly in recent seasons, for his injury record.
The 32-year old is out of contract this summer and has refused to be drawn on his future at Wales news conferences.
When he was pictured smiling while training with Wales this week, days after missing Real’s heavy defeat against Barcelona, Marca’s front-page headline was a sarcastic: “It doesn’t hurt anymore.”