Gareth Bale could be set for a return to English football when his Real Madrid contract expires next month, according to his agent Jonathan Barnett, who has confirmed the winger’s imminent exit from the Santiago Bernabeu.
The 32-year-old already looked set to leave Los Blancos at the end of his deal, with Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti saying last month that Bale wanted “to finish on a high note” with the club.
While Madrid wrapped up their 35th league title recently, Bale’s role in that success was virtually none-existent, with the former Tottenham man making just seven appearances all season in all competitions, totalling just 290 minutes of action.
Bale has won four Champions League titles during his nine-year spell in the Spanish capital, scoring three goals in finals of the competition (one against Atletico Madrid in 2014 and two against Liverpool in 2018).
However, he has attracted the ire of the club’s fans ever since he paraded a flag bearing the slogan “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order” after helping his national team qualify for Euro 2020, and was described as a “parasite” in Spanish sports daily Marca earlier this year.
Bale remains a key man for his country, scoring a brace in Wales’ 2-1 World Cup qualification win over Austria in March to put them within one win of reaching the tournament in Qatar, and Barnett says the result of the Dragons’ June play-off against either Scotland or Ukraine will inform any decision on the player’s future.
He also hinted Bale could return to England next season, having returned to Tottenham on loan for the duration of the 2020-21 campaign.
“Gareth will leave Real Madrid, but we have to wait for what Wales will be able to do,” Barnett told Portuguese outlet Record.
“It all depends on whether Wales qualify for the World Cup, then we will make a decision, which may vary on whether or not Wales go to the World Cup.
“Is he likely to return to England? I think so, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Wales will face either Scotland or Ukraine on June 5 in Cardiff for a place at the World Cup, where they would face England after being drawn into Group B.