Bale set for Premier League transfer, agent admits
Speaking to Portuguese outlet Record, Jonathan Barnett hinted that the future of the 32-year-old hinges on how Wales perform in their World Cup qualifiers, throwing his long-term plans into fresh doubt.
Indeed, it has been rumoured previously that Bale might retire from football entirely should Wales fail to reach the showpiece event. The agent added fuel to the fire with his words on Monday.
"Gareth will leave Real Madrid," Barnett confirmed. "His return to English football is likely, I think - but his future now depends on Wales and their playoff games for the World Cup."
Bale's mixed spell at Real Madrid to end
Bale has endured a love-hate spell at Real Madrid, where he arrived in 2013 from Tottenham. Although he has scored over 100 goals for the club and played a major role in Los Blancos winning four Champions League titles over his stay, memorably scoring twice in the 2018 final against Liverpool, there has been a perception that he care more about golf and playing for Wales than his club.
This has been underlined this season, in which he has mustered a mere seven appearances for the club, having turned out on 34 occasions for Tottenham last season during a loan spell. Indeed, he has played only 290 minutes for his club.
Few would argue this represents good value for money given that Bale is Real Madrid's top earner on around €37 million per year.
Conversely, he has played six out of nine matches for Wales, managing more minutes for his nation than he has for his club. He has scored five goals and created another in these games.
The player, meanwhile, has done little to help his cause, notably appearing with a flag that sid: 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order' as he celebrated qualifying for Euro 2020 with his national team.
Bale's time at Real Madrid will end at the end of June, when his contract with the club expires.