Gareth Bale's agent has hit out at the club's fans after his client was heckled by sections of the Bernabeu crowd during Saturday's home Clásico defeat at the hands of Barcelona, declaring they 'should be ashamed of themselves.'
Bale, who was audibly jeered when substituted in the 61st minute as Real trailed 1-0, has often been subjected to criticism in Spain and has borne the brunt of fan and media frustrations during difficult times, but agent Jonathan Barnett has moved to defend the player.
"This generation of Real fans will be talking about Gareth's goals for years to come," Barnett is quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "Frankly, they should be ashamed of themselves. Gareth deserves the greatest of respect. The way Real fans have treated him is nothing short of a disgrace.
"In the six years he has been in Spain, he has won everything. He's one of the best players in the world. Those fans should be kissing his feet."
Appearing to confirm that Bale will remain at Real despite ongoing speculation about a potential summer exit, Barnett added: "We're fed up of fake stories that he's leaving."
Bale's ability to speak the language has been questioned, while former club Tottenham, as well as Chelsea and Manchester United have been linked with a move.
Barnett, though, added: "Despite what the Spanish press are reporting, he's happy, he speaks reasonable Spanish and there is no problem between him and the rest of the Real players. The people writing these things know nothing about him.
"There has not been one single discussion about Gareth leaving Madrid. He isn't going anywhere this summer. Despite what's been reported, he's content, he wants to stay at Real and they want him."
Bale famously scored a stunning overhead kick in last season's Champions League final against Liverpool, part of a game-winning brace. It was his fourth Champions League title, having previously scored the decisive goal in 2014 and converted a penalty in the 2016 shootout.
But injuries have arguably stopped him from reaching his best, while stories in recent weeks have focused on his apparent difficulty adapting to Spanish life, in terms of language and culture, and seemingly being something of an outsider in the Real squad.
Vice-captain Marcelo recently remarked that Bale still does not speak Spanish, for example, and the two barely talk despite sitting next to each other in the dressing room.