Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has insisted that under-fire forward Gareth Bale is his friend and that a recent interview during which he appeared to criticise the Welsh superstar for not adapting to the Spanish way of life was badly translated.
Speaking to a Belgian newspaper in February, Courtois revealed that the Real squad knows Bale as 'The Golfer' and was reported to have said that the €100m star once chose to go to bed early rather than join the rest of the players for a late night dinner, as is customary in Spain.
Picked up in Spain and England, it added fuel to an existing fire as it was published soon after Marcelo had claimed that he and Bale do not really speak, despite sitting next to each other in the dressing room, only ever exchanging basic greetings because of Bale's language barrier.
Agent Jonathan Barnett furiously defended his client earlier this month, telling Sky Sports: "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."
Now, Courtois appears to have backtracked on his part in the story, setting the record straight during an interview with Spanish radio station Onda Cero.
"Bale is one of my best friends in the dressing room, we speak English and I also am passionate about golf," the goalkeeper said. "He also understands Spanish. That interview was badly translated, it created a problem when there wasn't one."
During the same interview, Courtois also spoke of his desire to see international colleague and former Chelsea teammate Eden Hazard join him at Real this summer.
"For me, he is one of the best in the world and as a friend I would like him to be here," he said.