Gareth Bale came off the bench in Real Madrid’s 7–1 win over Celta Vigo and scored a goal in his comeback from his third calf injury of the season (and sixth overall). And he did it with strategically placed holes in his socks.
This wasn’t a fashion statement or a sign that he’s worn out a lucky pair of socks, instead it was the latest in Bale’s growing list of unusual efforts to stop getting injured all the damn time.
According to AS, the logic behind the sock holes is two-fold. One, as an “attempt to ‘release’ the soleus muscle in both legs” and two, reduce his injury paranoia.
Modern football socks are designed to improve circulation, by slightly compressing the tissue, which also helps avoids aches, cramps and bruising. Avoiding the feeling of pressure may however help the player in terms of mental confidence and fear of the injury recurring, particularly given that Bale is aware of the weakness and concerned about the injury coming back.
Earlier this season Bale swore off driving Lamborghinis to spare another problem area: his hamstrings.
At this rate, come May, an increasingly frantic Bale will probably be wearing underpants on his head to prevent the healthy vibes from escaping and rubbing his legs with Cristiano Ronaldo’s impenetrable hair products for extra protection.