Gareth Bale is one of the greatest British footballers ever to make a name for himself on the continent, and has become a pivotal figure at Real Madrid. Not many stars have cut it in Spain before, and few have stayed as long as the Welshman. Throughout history, British players including Gary Lineker and Michael Owen, have always returned to the Premier League after a few seasons in La Liga. Will Bale do the same? Or is he set to live out his playing days in the famous white shirt of Los Blancos?
Bale has contributed to a highly successful period in Real Madrid’s history, helping the club win the Champions League twice in the last four years. In addition to that he has won the Copa Del Rey, the FIFA Club World Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup.
Surprisingly, however, he has never claimed a league title in the Spanish top division. That could all be about to change this season, though, as Zinedine Zidane’s side are developing a healthy lead at the top of the table. At the time of writing Real are at odds of 1/3 in the La Liga betting to lift the title this term.
Once he has won the title in Spain, Bale may feel that his work is done and seek for a move elsewhere. His current contract means he is tied to the Santiago Bernabeu club until 2022, but if a rich club came in with a big enough offer Madrid may be tempted to sell.
Many feel that Bale would welcome a return to Blighty. Moving to practically any club in England’s top flight would allow the fastest player in Spain (see video above) to be the number one star in the side. During his time in Madrid he has always been considered to be world-class, but has constantly lived in the shadow of his superstar teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese has won the Ballon d’Or twice in the last three years while Bale has watched on, never even making the top three.
Manchester United are the number-one suitors, with Jose Mourinho being a well-known admirer of the Welshman. The club have also proved how much they are willing to pay for top talent, with the £89 million fee paid to acquire Paul Pogba last summer. Mourinho isn’t yet fully satisfied with the players at his disposal and will be looking for top targets in the summer. There is a strong chance he will aim to replace the aging Juan Mata with a pacier winger, and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann has been mentioned alongside Bale.
Bale may be enticed by the rebuilding work that Mourinho is doing at Old Trafford as the former Chelsea boss seeks to take United back to the levels they were at during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign. The Wales talisman knows he could be an integral part of that work. At 27 years old, he still has a good few seasons left in him to reach even greater heights in his career. Whether that is in the Premier League, we will have to wait and see.