Bale has been a divisive figure over the past few years, particularly with the pro-Real Madrid media in Spain.
Marca labelled Bale a ‘parasite’ in the run-up to the game – effectively accusing him of stealing a living off Madrid.
Bale hit back after Wales had defeated Austria, calling for more respect for the mental health and wellbeing of professional athletes.
While he undoubtedly has a point regarding Marca’s choice of words, the 32-year-old has done himself no favours in recent years.
His stunning performance in the 2017/18 Champions League final perfectly highlighted the talent Bale possesses.
However, things haven’t gone to plan since then. Injuries have not helped his cause, but Bale has also not helped himself.
He’s been happy to sit on his backside in Madrid pocketing ridiculous amounts of cash when the smart move would have been to head elsewhere and play football.
Bale’s thought processes can’t have been helped by the people willing to blow smoke up his backside in recent years.
Wales fanboy Robbie Savage has been at the head of the queue in that regard and he was it again after Bale’s double against Austria.
“Gareth Bale is still world-class,” Savage told the Mirror. “And when everything else has deserted him, that greatness will still be there – because form is temporary but class is permanent.
“After Bale’s mind-blowing free-kick and stunning finish in the World Cup play-off against Austria, a nation can dare to dream again.
“But above all, it was a stunning answer to a Spanish publication’s low blows, cheap-shot insults and outrageous mock-up of the Wales captain as a blood-sucking mosquito.
“Bale has won 14 trophies at Real Madrid and now he is 90 minutes from leading his country to their first World Cup finals for 64 years.”
Savage often gets moist where Wales are concerned, so it is no surprise to see him get himself in a lather over Bale’s performance against Austria.
Yes folks – Austria. That well-known world superpower. Let’s have some realism here. Scoring twice against Austria doesn’t make anyone world-class.
And that ’14 trophies’ comment? How many of them has Bale actually made a meaningful contribution to?
Let’s cut to the chase here. Bale is talented. Is he capable of stunning moments? Absolutely.
But he’s spent far too long worrying about his golf handicap rather than proving he is a ‘world-class’ footballer.
It’s time for him to change that perception by proving he can handle the rigours of club football. Cameos against Austria prove nothing.