“I needed to go to restaurants with my wife and for somebody not to understand what I was saying.
“I needed to say ‘is this duck?’ and make duck noises and flap my arms around. Then I’d think what an idiot I was and that I needed to learn the language as quickly as possible.”
The image of McManaman, off whose tongue Spanish names and words bounce like a well-struck volley, attempting to order duck in a restaurant by flapping his arms is a comical one.
The idea of Bale having to do the same is beyond comprehension: his translator, or his iPhone, or his English-speaking Madrid-supporting doting waiter would fill the gap where McManaman’s acting previously had to.
Cristiano Ronaldo recently claimed that he, Bale and Karim Benzema don’t need to have dinner together to play well, as Barcelona stars Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez are said to do.