Axed Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has taken a thinly-veiled swipe at Gareth Bale ahead of Euro 2020.
Writing in his special Euros column for The Sun, Mourinho claimed Bale had struggled against the top teams despite his impressive goal-scoring record during his season-long loan with the club.
Mourinho, of course, was manager for most that time, regularly ignoring what Bale had to offer amid apparent tension behind the scenes.
The Portuguese was eventually sacked in April, while Bale went on to score 16 goals and finish the season with the best goals-per-minute ratio in the Premier League – a strike rate of 1.07 goals per game
Giving his verdict on Wales’ European Championship hopes, Mourinho said: “Over the years Wales have relied a lot on Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, the two most talented players in the country.
“But when I look to the club season and how many matches Ramsey played at Juventus… there were lots of injuries.
“When we look to Gareth and how many great performances he had, how many goals he scored against the best teams, there were not many or none.
“It’s not an easy situation for a country without many options.
“But they are always well organised and know how to create a situation to try to get the best out of the more talented players.
“Dan James is fast and is the one that can break defenders.
“With the small group of players they are doing amazingly well, so lots of respect.
“But it will be hard for them even to qualify for the next phase.”
The majority of Bale’s goals did come against teams in the lower half of the Premier League, or in Cup competitions, but he did net a superb brace against high-flying Leicester City on the final day of the season.
It remains to be seen where Bale plays his football next season, amid rumours he could even retire. That scenario, though, appears highly unlikely.
Wales begin their Euros campaign against Switzerland a week today. Rob Page’s side play Albania in a final warm-up match tonight (5pm KO) , which you can follow live here.