It was time for Gareth Bale’s story at Real Madrid to end. It will have been as rich over the first five years as it has been poor and frustrating over the last four. “I write this message to thank all my teammates, past and present, my coaches, everyone working at the club and to the supporters who have supported me during all this time. I arrived here 9 years ago as a youngster who wanted to fulfill his dream of playing for Real Madrid. Wear the famous white tunic, win titles and win the Champions League. Now I can look back and honestly say that dream has come true and so much more.” The Welshman said goodbye to Casa Blanca on Wednesday morning, formalizing his departure at the end of his contract.
He was no longer really in Madrid already, he who has only participated in 7 games this season (for a goal in 290 minutes of play). Well present at the Stade de France last Saturday during the victory in the Champions League against Liverpool, he was noticed his absence at the time of the festivities of the title in La Liga acquired at the end of April. His attitude in general annoyed most people at Real Madrid to such an extent that there was talk of fining him financially for repeated ‘phantom’ injuries. Yet another episode in a series whose culmination was probably reached in the fall of 2019 when the player took out a Welsh flag with this now famous mention: ‘Wales, golf, Madrid, in that order’. The Bernabéu public never forgave him.
Who will want him?
Gareth Bale hasn’t had his mind in football for a while. His passion for golf bears witness to this, he who seems more focused on the green than on the lawn of a stadium. Or can he bounce back well when he is “only” 32 years old, and still a few last seasons to play. It seems complicated to continue in Spain who got tired of the winger after offering him some spectacular actions at the height of the rivalry with Barça. The left-hander had also smashed the local press which had outright called him a parasite last March. His agents have however offered his services to Atlético de Madrid in recent weeks, which has been rejected by Andrea Berta, the sporting director. We should rather turn to the British Isles for the future.
Transferred from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013 for €100m, the player returned to Spurs in the summer of 2020 on a one-season loan. He was not retained, in particular because of his astronomical salary, but his performances were rather good (34 matches in all competitions, 16 goals and 3 assists). Like what, he can still render some services, but this last season spent between the bench and the infirmary in Spain will undoubtedly have lowered his rating. Moreover, we are not really talking about the Premier League at the moment, but rather the Championship… Since the spring, his name has been associated with Cardiff, the city where he was born, but where he never played as a than professional. Sky Sports recently mentioned a possibility of joining MLS.
A final goal with Wales
“Gareth doesn’t know what will happen this summer and it will all depend on Wales. We haven’t spoken with anyone and there will be a decision he will have to make around June. It’s unbelievable that Real Madrid don’t play him, because he can still do a lot (…). He is the greatest player to have played for Wales and one of the greatest Britain has ever produced.”, explained Jonathan Barnett in March, as if to better sell his client. Because if Bale no longer has much ambition in the club, he still has one last mission to fulfill: to qualify the Dragons for the World Cup for the first time since 1958. They will face the winner of Scotland-Ukraine on Sunday . For Qatar, it will then be necessary to be competitive and if it is at the highest level, it is even better.
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