Gareth Bale has suggested he would be open to a return to the Premier League and has blamed Real Madrid for not allowing him to leave the club.
The Welsh international has become an increasingly peripheral figure at the Bernabeu in recent seasons after falling out-of-favour with manager Zinedine Zidane, Bale starting just 12 league fixtures last season in a continuation of a frustrating period for the forward.
Bale’s situation has worsened due to a difficult relationship with the Real Madrid supporters, his antics whilst on international duty – including his holding of a now-notorious flag emblazoned ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.’ – failing to improve his prospects.
The 31-year-old has also looked disinterested during his frequent appearances on the substitutes’ bench, including pretending to be asleep by using his coronavirus mask to cover his eyes, and admits he is relishing the prospect of playing for Wales after linking up with Ryan Giggs’ side for their Nations League fixtures against Finland and Bulgaria.
“I think everyone knows how much I love coming away with Wales,” Bale told Sky Sports while on international duty. “It’s nice to be back at a place where you are a little bit more appreciated and supported by your fans no matter what.”
🏴 Celebrated with a “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.” flag
🏌️♂️ Constantly does golf poses during training sessions
😂 Has the biggest club in the world on absolute strings
Happy Birthday Gareth Bale 🎂 pic.twitter.com/Z3bOJ5SkLe
— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) July 16, 2020
Bale came close to leaving Real Madrid last summer before a move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning collapsed at the last minute, and the Welshman admits he remains open to leaving the club in search of regular first-team football.
The star suggested he would consider a return to the Premier League should the opportunity arise, but admits a decision on his future remains firmly in Real Madrid’s hands.
“If those options arise it is something I’d look at for sure,” he added when asked on a potential return to English football.
“We’ll see what happens, we have plenty of time in this transfer window and a couple of others as well. Time will tell but mainly I think the reason is that the decision is in Real Madrid’s hands.
“Last year they blocked everything at the last second, so it was a project that I was excited for last year but it didn’t materialise. There have been other incidents when we’ve tried to go but the club wouldn’t allow it or have done something, so as for the club, what can I say.
“I want to play and I’m still motivated to play football so I guess it’s on the club really. I can’t really do much, they are in control of everything. I have a contract so all I can do is carry on doing what I’m doing and hopefully something comes up.
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) September 2, 2020
“I am only 31 still but I feel I am in great shape still and feel like I have a lot to give. We will see what happens. It’s in the club’s hands but they make things very difficult to be honest.”
Bale’s claims come despite his agent, Jonathan Barnett, repeatedly insisting his client will not be forced out of the Bernabeu, the forward having two years remaining on his current contract.
The former Tottenham star remains Real Madrid’s highest-paid player on a reported £600,000-a-week, with the Spanish giants having so far shown a reluctance to buy out the remainder of his mega-money deal to bring an end a difficult relationship between player, club and supporters.