Jose Mourinho lets Gareth Bale down with live TV dig at Welshman

Wales legend Gareth Bale was left in trouble as Jose Mourinho brutally took a swipe at him on live TV during the Champions League final.

Ahead of Real Madrid taking on Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium, Bale joined the TNT Sports team for a brief discussion.

The expert team included presenter Laura Woods, Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand and Bale’s ex-boss and management icon Mourinho, who has previously been critical of the Welshman.

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Bale’s love for golf is well known and talked about for years. As tensions increased between Madrid and Bale in the latter stages of his career, he famously held up the ‘Wales’. Golf. Madrid. In that order’ flag after a match in Wales.

The Cardiff native even played in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February 2023, less than a month after retiring from the competition.

Before Bale’s interview ended, Ferdinand asked the Welshman what it was like to be managed by a legend like Mourinho. The former Tottenham Hotspur winger signed for the Galacticos in 2013, the same summer Mourinho left Madrid. However, the pair crossed paths again when Bale was loaned to Tottenham Hotspur in September 2020.

Mourinho replied before Bale could: “That wasn’t football! COVID, empty stadiums. That wasn’t football.”

Bale: “It was different. That’s why I started drinking coffee, to get the adrenaline going!

“I loved working with Jose, it was a pleasure. Something I always wanted to do was work with him. It was only for a short period, at the end of my career, not in my best years, but the relationship we had was very good and yes, I loved working with him.”

Mourinho joked back: “At that moment he was already thinking about winning Augusta! He wanted to win Augusta!”

Bale replied: ‘Maybe play in Augusta. But don’t win!’

Augusta National is perhaps the most famous golf course in the world and hosts the annual Masters tournament.

The relationship between Mourinho and Bale was actually well documented as strained during his surprise return to Spurs three years ago, with the manager suggesting he was no longer close to the player he once was. He was sometimes extremely critical of the Welshman. Bale’s agent confirmed in 2021 that the pair “saw football differently”.

Speaking to Mirror Football, the agent said: “There was no argument at Spurs. I just don’t think they looked at football in the same way. I’m being very diplomatic here.”

Writing in his Times column after being sacked by Spurs, Mourinho once claimed Bale was not performing against the big teams in the Premier League.

“Wales have relied a lot on Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey over the years, the two most talented players in the country,” Mourinho said.

“But when I look at the club season and how many games Ramsey played at Juventus, there were a lot of injuries.

“When we look at Gareth and see how many great performances he has made, how many goals he has scored against the best teams, it was not many or none. It is not an easy situation for a country without many options.”

“But they are always well organized and know how to create a situation where they try to get the best out of the more talented players.”

Despite this, Mourinho also occasionally praised Bale, saying this after a performance against Burnley: “Sometimes people write things, and sometimes some of you like to make up stories, you have to write stories and sometimes you like to say things that is not really true, but there is not a single manager in the world who will not play Gareth Bale when Gareth Bale is in very good condition.”