Euro 2020: Bale laughs off speculation over Wales future
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Gareth Bale is reportedly set to retire from club football at the end of next season but may still play for Wales at the 2022 World Cup. The Welsh talisman has had a torrid time in terms of club football the past few years, becoming surplus to requirements for Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid, then used as a squad player at Tottenham last season whilst on loan.
Bale, 31, became the most expensive signing in the world when he signed with Real Madrid for £86million back in 2013.
The left-winger is renowned for his blistering pace and cannon of a left foot.
Making 251 appearances for Madrid, he recorded an impressive 105 goals, of which some are highly memorable.
In the 2014 Copa del Rey final, Bale was nicknamed ‘Road Runner’ after making a 50-metre dash – whilst being pushed off the pitch – he flew past Barcelona’s defence to put Madrid ahead.
Madrid assistant coach Paul Clement said: “I’m not sure I have ever seen a goal like that.”
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In the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool, Bale came off the bench to crush Scouse hearts in an enigmatic fashion, scoring a bicycle kick to make it 2-1 Madrid, and then grabbing second to put it beyond doubt.
The four-time Champions League winner turns 32 next week and has shown he can still compete at the top of his game.
Last season at Spurs he was used sparingly – some say not enough – by Jose Mourinho, yet despite this he still scored almost every other game, with 16 goals in 34 appearances.
Returning to Madrid, he will see out his £600,000-a-week contract when it runs out next year and is set to retire, according to the Mirror.
However, Bale’s love for his home nation Wales is well-known, and has sometimes even aroused controversy.
After securing Euro 2020 qualification with a 2-0 win over Hungary in 2019, Bale and the rest of the Wales squad, posed with a banner declaring ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid. In that order’.
Spanish newspaper Marca published a front cover with the headline ‘Disrespectful. Wrong. Ungrateful. In that order’.
After being knocked out by Denmark in the Euros recently, Bale said: “I will play for Wales until the day I stop playing football.”
That much seems to be true, Wales may be Bale’s final – and fitting – last club.
The 2022 World Cup could be his swan song and runs from November 21 – December 1.
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