IT’S a pretty unlikely definition of “failure”.
Six seasons, 101 goals and four Champions League wins, twice scoring critical goals in the Final including one of the greatest big-game strikes in the history of football.
More than that, too. One La Liga crown, three Club World Cups, three Uefa Super Cups and the Copa del Rey.
Yet, for all he has achieved, all he has brought, all he has given, it increasingly seems that Gareth Bale is finished at Real Madrid.
The jury has come back, with a guilty verdict.
Any doubts were ended by the cascade of jeers and whistles that accompanied him off the pitch this weekend – once again, a Welsh Aunt Sally, the emblem of the defeat.
Precisely what Bale has been deemed to be guilty of is less clear.
Maybe of not being Cristiano Ronaldo? Not being a freak of footballing nature?
Yet if that is the standard, the bar, there are not too many players in the history of the game who could clear it.
Of having a body that is susceptible to injury? Someone who misses too many games?
Well, maybe if he hadn’t been overplayed, kicked, left battered and bruised so many times, that might have more merit.
Or, perhaps, of not being sufficiently Madridista?
It is not an unreasonable argument, in all honesty, to suggest that Bale might have worked a bit harder on his Spanish.
He did join Madrid in 2013 and one of the reasons Steve McManaman remains so popular among the Bernabeu faithful was that he learned the language and engaged with the Madrid media.
Bale has not done that, it is true.
Yet if the biggest complaint is that he does not go out partying with his team-mates – and quite why Thibaut Courtois has the nerve or right to label him, even in jest, as “the golfer” is hard to understand – that seems an inversion of the normal critiques of players for not taking their careers seriously enough.
He was criticised for not joining a dinner organised by Sergio Ramos at the end of January.
Accused for failing to acknowledge team-mate Lucas Vazquez’s attempt to share a goal celebration against Levante.
And even, now, said to have aimed his aggressive goal celebration after scoring in the Madrid derby not at the Atletico fans who complained and saw him facing a Spanish FA probe – which went nowhere – but at the REAL fans and soon to be ex-manager Santiago Solari.
All, it is alleged, because he is in a strop.
Gareth Bale? Strop? I’ll say it again. Gareth Bale?
The fall-out from Real’s second home defeat at the hands of Barcelona in the space of a few days appears to have landed all over the Welshman.
Lambasted, once again, by the supporters and pundits alike, there does appear to be a concerted effort to force Bale out of the club.
These were the same fans, of course, who were lauding him when he destroyed Liverpool hearts in Kiev last May and who hailed him as a hero again with his displays in the latest Club World Cup tournament just before Christmas.
No wonder, then, that Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, hit back on behalf of his client.
Barnett said: “Gareth deserves the greatest of respect but the way the Real fans have treated him is nothing short of a disgrace.
“This generation of Real fans will be talking about Gareth's goals for years to come. Frankly, they should be ashamed of themselves.
“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.”
It does not help that Real are always feast or famine, black or white, heroes or villains. There is no grey, not when Barca are flying.
And Bale is the easy target. The recipient of the outrage and bile.
Remember, in Madrid you are not allowed to turn on or criticise Ramos or his pals. Even Jose Mourinho could not pick that fight and win.
Of course, it is always more subtle than that.
The key is to make Bale feel smaller by comparison with others.
So it was about Ronaldo when the Portuguese was there, ruling the roost.
Now it’s the new Brazilian boy wonder, Vinicius.
The youngster has done well, it is true.
But we all know, surely, that things that are new seem shinier than they might be in reality.
And that making an instant impact is not easy, by any means, but that making a sustained one, being able to adapt, change and still perform over an extended period, is far, far harder.
The trouble for Bale is that Florentino Perez wants to retain his hold on the club Presidency.
Perez, to be fair, has been Bale’s champion in the past. Yet not, it seems, for much longer.
He cares about his own popularity first and foremost.
And if that means jettisoning Bale, so be it.
The Bernabeu club have been linked with Eden Hazard, Christian Eriksen and Kylian Mbappe, to name but a few.
The one they want, though, is Neymar. And guess who has opened the door to that idea all over again?
Yes, Neymar of course. The Brazilian, still recovering from his latest foot surgery, said: “So I want to play for Real Madrid?
“Real Madrid is one of the greatest clubs in the world. Any player who Real Madrid came for would be attracted to play there.
“Today I feel very happy in Paris. I’m good here. But no one knows the future.”
It was an old-fashioned “come and get me” plea.
But to meet Neymar’s fee and salary demands, Real would have to punt out some of the big wage earners. No prizes for predicting the first casualty of that war.
Bale wants to stay in Madrid. He always wanted to play there and will, rightly, point to that medal collection as the ultimate justification of his then-world record move.
Yet it is increasingly clear he cannot stay.
After six years, Bale will be given little choice.
The train is in motion. The only option, it seems, is over the final destination.
IT’S a pretty unlikely definition of “failure”.