Gareth Bale despises being asked about his future plans.
When a reporter asked if he had played his last game for Wales after they were eliminated from Euro 2020 by Denmark, he made it obvious that he had.
After the 4-0 loss in Amsterdam, emotions were running high, and the forward’s reaction – storming off camera – was as much about displeasure with what had happened on the pitch as it was about rage at the question.
Bale, on the other hand, will have to respond to this question sooner rather than later.
His commitment to his country is unquestionable, as evidenced by his team’s performance in Group A, when they finished second.
According to reports, Gareth Bale (C) is considering retiring from club football. Bale still enjoys serving his country, as he shown throughout Wales’ Euro 2020 campaign. Nevertheless, it is his enthusiasm to stay in the club game, his desire for the day-to-day monotony of the game, that has been questioned by others, and that he must now be doubting himself.
According to sources, he is preparing for his final season as a player at the age of 31.
This week, The Mirror claimed that he intends to retire from professional football after this season at Real Madrid, with the hope of leading Wales to the World Cup in Qatar next winter.
Bale would have to hang up his boots at the age of 32.
That would have been inconceivable for a player previously regarded as a natural successor to Real Madrid’s evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo.
Despite returning to Spurs, he has been unable to revive his passion for the game. There is no doubt that Bale has the ability to match the Portuguese star’s longevity.
Last season, he showed enough in his performances while on loan at Tottenham to suggest he is still more than capable of competing with the best.
But it’s that most vital ingredient that’s been missing for a long time.
Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid have long thought that his desire to play in Europe’s top flight has diminished.
At Spurs, Jose Mourinho also recommended it on several occasions.
This was not the case when the footballer originally left Tottenham, leaving White Hart Lane and his idol status behind to pursue his dream of wearing the Real Madrid white jersey.
Bale grew to prominence during his time at White Hart Lane, becoming a globally recognized star. At the time, the desire was palpable.
It was the same way during his meteoric climb to stardom in north London.
Bale came back from the brink of a loan move to the Championship and a season with Birmingham to become one of the most dangerous left-sided players on the planet, his Champions League performance against Inter compelling the continent to sit up and take notice.
What followed was extraordinary: four Champions League wins, two La Liga titles, and memorable goals that endeared him to Madridistas all over the world.
When he joined Real Madrid in 2013, he remarked that moving to Spain had always been his ambition. He had plenty of success in Spain, winning the Champions League three times: his lung-bursting run in the Copa del Rey final against rivals Barcelona, his extra-time header against Atletico Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final, and his spectacular overhead kick against Liverprprprprprprprprprprprprprprprprp
Nevertheless, among the wonderful moments, there was a sense that not everything was as it seemed.
Bale was used more sparingly by Zinedine Zidane after impressing under Carlo Ancelotti, with the Welshman increasingly being selected among the replacements.
When asked about the winger’s demotion from crucial player to squad member, Zidane would scoff.
It was clear to him that he had other players who were more dedicated to the cause.
Because of the bad relationship, he was on the verge of departing in 2019, only for Real to pull the plug on a move to China at the last minute.
In the Spanish press, he was constantly questioned, with his love of golf a recurring issue.
It all came to a head after Wales qualified for Euro 2020 during the celebrations.
Bale’s relationship with head coach Zinedine Zidane, on the other hand, was always a source of contention. A flag featuring the phrase ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid – in that order’ enraged some in Madrid.
The return of Zinedine Zidane in 2019 and the strain in the Frenchman’s relationship with Bale appears to be a big factor in Bale’s disengagement from the game.
His demeanor at the end of the 2019-20 season was that of a guy who had lost his way.
He was branded’shameful’ by the Spanish press for his bench behavior, which included faking to fall asleep during a encounter against Alaves before holding up a pair of imaginary binoculars at the next match.
Bale was chastised in the Spanish press last season for celebrating with the infamous Welsh flag. His return to Spurs was a last-ditch attempt to rekindle the spark that made him fall in love with the game in the first place.
Bale, on the other hand, found only another thorny relationship with Jose Mourinho, with the star being publicly chastised for his training efforts.
When asked about an Instagram post stating Bale was back in training, the Portuguese exclaimed, ‘It was entirely incorrect.’
Gary Neville and Graeme Souness were among the pundits who chastised a smiling Bale for being too pleased while sitting on the bench.
Bale was also chastised for his antics in the fans, with his concentration appearing to wane. It was widely acknowledged within Spurs that the player’s cheery nature was a welcome presence throughout his year-long stay, but not among those who had previously played with him.
According to his agent Jonathan Barnett, the idea is for him to stay at Real for the remaining year of his contract.
Carlo Ancelotti’s return may possibly offer the impetus for an Indian summer in his career.
Even then, it’s unlikely he’ll be in the Spanish capital as he prepares his next football move.
Or, as the case may be, retirement.