As Gareth Bale exits the iconic Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid, there is a real sense of closure.
It’s fair to say that the Welsh winger hasn’t exactly seen eye to eye with the Real Madrid fans for the best part of his nine-year stay at the club, as they often jeered the 32-year-old, while he celebrated Wales’s Euro 2020 qualification with an infamous banner that read; ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.’
But as Bale departs having won three La Liga titles, five Champions Leagues and a Copa del Rey with Los Blancos, there was finally feeling of mutual respect at the end of this love-hate relationship.
The tens of thousands of supporters that packed into the Bernabéu to celebrate Madrid’s latest European Cup success over Liverpool in Paris gave the winger a standing ovation when it was his turn to come out of the tunnel, and Bale has since released a heartfelt message to the fans on his social media.
It has been an honour. Thank you! #HALAMADRID @RealMadrid pic.twitter.com/T7FL2LNRrD
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) June 1, 2022
It is only right that they have both shown their appreciation for each other at this stage as well.
Bale has lived out a dream at Real Madrid, playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world and winning all there is to win, while the Los Blancos’ fans have a lot to thank him for over the course of the last decade or so to — most notably crucial goals in the 2014 and 2018 Champions League finals.
But as the chapter of his career in Madrid comes to a close, what does the future now hold for Bale? At 32 years of age, he certainly isn’t getting any younger and persistent injury woes mean he can longer make a side more favourable on betting sites like this one https://www.paddypower.com/football on a consistent enough basis.
A second return to Tottenham Hotspur, after he had somewhat of a career revival on loan in north London, would seem like an obvious scenario — and Spurs’ adoring fans certainly wouldn’t say no to Bale plying his trade at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium again next season, especially as they are set to host Champions League football for the first time at their new ground.
The club recently announced the signing of 33-year-old Ivan Perišić on a free transfer from Inter Milan and head coach Antonio Conte might target Bale next as he looks to add some more experience when it comes to playing in Europe’s premier cup competition. And perhaps most importantly players that have won silverware, to his side ahead of next season — even if they aren’t players that match the long-term ambitions of the club.
Newcastle United could be another option for Bale in the English top flight. Made the richest club in the world via a Saudi takeover late last year, the Magpies would be able offer the 32-year-old more money than Spurs, and arguably on a more important note, more gametime than he would get in north London — should he be able to stay fit, of course.
The Welshman has also been linked with a move to Cardiff City in his homeland. However, despite his agent Jonathan Barnet recently claiming that it’s something that could happen this summer, it’s hard to see Bale making the drop down to the Championship at this stage of his career — especially when he can still offer a lot to top Premier League sides.
The same could be said about a transatlantic switch to the MLS in the United States, where he has been linked with Wayne Rooney’s former said DC United. Indeed, they would be able to offer Bale outstanding wages, but that is a move that seems more likely two or three more years down the line for the 32-year-old at this stage of his career.
For now, it seems a return to the Premier League appears to be the most likely outcome for Bale, who will currently be more focused on World Cup qualification with Wales as their place in Qatar firmly hangs in the balance. Where he will end up in the English top flight is far from clear, but he will certainly have his options.