What are Gareth Bale’s options this January?

It’s a relationship that has descended into something of a pantomime over the past few months. The breakdown in understanding between Gareth Bale and Real Madrid, including the club’s notoriously tough-to-please support, has been well-documented. Indeed, it’s difficult to envisage how the Welshman will remain in the Spanish capital for much longer.

But then this was viewed to be the case in the summer. By all accounts, Bale was within hours of securing a move to the Chinese Super League only for the plug to be pulled on the deal at the last moment. There were no other bidders for the Welshman and so he stayed at the Santiago Bernabeu for another season.

In terms of his performances on the pitch, Bale has been one of Real Madrid’s most consistent performers this season. He has come up with big moments in big games. Zinedine Zidane still seems to have some faith in the player, picking him ahead of Vinicius Junior for the Clasico away to Barcelona earlier in the month.

And yet it seems inevitable that Bale will be touted around Europe once again as soon as the January transfer window opens in a few days’ time. So what options will be open to the 30-year-old as he looks to revitalise a career that has stalled over the past two years or so?

A return to Tottenham has been mooted for quite some time and that possibility might be most feasible this January. With Mauricio Pochettino gone and Jose Mourinho now in charge Daniel Levy will have more freedom to bring in the marquee signings he always envisaged for the North London club. Bale would certainly fit the bill in that regard.

Bayern Munich has also been mentioned as a potential option for Bale, but it seems unlikely that the Bavarians will make a move while they are still without a permanent manager. Manchester United are long-term suitors of the Welshman, but their interest has waned in recent times as they head in a different direction.

Meanwhile, new regulations regarding international players means that a switch to China now looks to be off the cards. Bale’s best option, in the meantime, might well be to stay at Real Madrid where he will continue to be a useful player in a tight title race at the top of La Liga. But if he decides to finally leave, a return home might be the only option open to him at this time.

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Gareth Bale must recapture his Wales enthusiasm at club level again

It’s no secret that Gareth Bale has found the last year or so at Real Madrid tough going. The Welsh winger has been made a scapegoat by sections of the Spanish press, criticising him for everything from playing golf to leaving the Santiago Bernabeu too quickly after games. It’s remarkable that he has put up with it this long.

Indeed, Bale was on the brink of finally leaving Real Madrid during the summer with the 30-year-old expected to make the move to the Chinese Super League. However, the deal fell through at the last moment and the Welshman still finds himself in the Spanish capital. His future has never been so unclear.

Bale has actually played well at times for Real Madrid this season, but a recent interview given ahead of Wales’ Euro 2020 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary revealed the depth of his unhappiness at the club. “I definitely have more excitement playing for Wales,” Bale said.

“I’ve been with most of the older players since we were in the under-17s. It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday. With Wales, I’m speaking my own language and feel more comfortable. But it doesn’t change what I do on the pitch. I always give 100% on the pitch wherever I am; that’s what I always strive to do.”

At 30 years old, Bale still has plenty more to offer. If he can stay injury-free, he might have another three to four years left at the top level. And yet Bale is wasting what remaining time he has as an elite player. He must seek to recapture the enthusiasm he has playing for Wales at club level.

That might involve finally leaving Real Madrid. The Spanish club have done all they can to push Bale out the door. So far, the Welshman has been reluctant to leave. By staying, though, Bale is only doing himself more damage. He needs a fresh start. He needs a new club where he will be harnessed.

Wales have got the best out of Bale in recent times. Like most players, the winger plays at his best when the environment he finds himself in is a healthy one. Real Madrid is a toxic environment for Bale. That doesn’t look like changing any time soon. If he enjoys himself more with Wales, he should like to find something similar in a new club.

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Gareth Bale’s Real Madrid future is once again a hot topic

It was all but signed. A deal was agreed between Real Madrid and Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning for the transfer of Gareth Bale following a very public saga. Zinedine Zidane was quite clearly doing his best to banish the Welsh winger from the Santiago Bernabeu dressing and China looked to be his only escape route.

Of course, the deal that would have seen Bale earn a staggering £1 million a week fell through and the 30-year-old was left stuck in the Spanish capital. From his point of view, this represented something of a victory. While Bale was understandably angry and frustrated at his treatment, he still wanted to play for Real Madrid.

The dynamic has shifted somewhat since then. Bale has forced his way back into the first team fold, once again becoming a key figure for Real Madrid over the first few weeks of the new season. Indeed, two goals and two assists from six La Liga appearances represents a decent haul.

But now it seems that Bale’s future in the Spanish capital is a hot topic again, with reports emerging that the Welshman now wants to leave Real Madrid. There’s no real suggestion of where he could end up, but now the situation has been flipped with Zidane keen to keep Bale and the player himself eager to leave.

“I think you play with a lot of emotion and anger comes into it of course, but I am just trying to play football, to enjoy it as much as I can and give my best, whether I am here or in Madrid,” Bale explained while on international duty with Wales this week. “Whenever I step onto the pitch I give 100% to help the team and I will continue to do that.”

But is Bale giving 100% to earn himself a move elsewhere or is he playing to keep his place at the Santiago Bernabeu? For the first time in a while, he is in a position of power. China was his only potential destination over the summer, but his early season form will have surely convinced some European suitors to make a move should he make himself available.

The latest twist of the saga concerning Bale’s future in Spain could see Real Madrid refuse to sell him just months after doing everything in their power to ensure he never set foot in their dressing room again.

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A preview of all the action in gameweek 4 of LaLiga

Another full list of LaLiga matches awaits all Spanish football fans this weekend. There are some very interesting matchups to look out for as well.

Here is our preview of all ten games.

Mallorca v Athletic Bilbao

Key men: Salva Sevilla (Mallorca); Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao)

Prediction: Mallorca 0 – 1 Athletic Bilbao Continue reading

Could Zidane quit Real Madrid for a second time?

Real Madrid’s objectives are always the same, to win every trophy they are in. But that has had to change after last seasons nightmare, chaotic turn of events that saw Zinedine Zidane quit the club and then they went through two different managers in the space of 8 months as they failed on all fronts, something had to change and surprisingly Zidane was back in, he had stepped in so to speak to save Florentino Perez’s presidency.

All was set to be recharged this season, Zidane would have the money to spend, the great one was back, he who had won 3 Champions League’s in a row. However no one at the club was counting on the Gareth Bale factor. It was simple Zidane wanted to sell the Welshman, he was in no way shape or form in his plans. With a Chinese move imminent where Bale would earn a staggering 1m a week, it was Perez of all people who pulled the plug. He quite rightly recongnised Bale’s qualities and refused the sale of him. Now Zidane was stuck with him.

At that point after such determination to get rid of Bale, Zidane could have walked, his excuse this time being that he was undermined. But that never happened and he stayed as the beginning of the season took hold and Madrid had problems away to Celta Vigo before powering through 3-1, which included an assist by Bale for Madrid’s opening goal.

At the weekend against Valladolid, Madrid were 1/7 to win the game, this is a team they used to stick 6 plus goals past when playing at the Santiago Bernabeu, this time they drew 1-1. They were leading 1-0 for the majority of the game before a player whose surname would ring moans and groans throughout the Madrid fans ears scored, his name Mr. Guardiola- no, you really couldn’t make it up.

It’s so early in the season that it would be harsh to judge Zidane and Madrid, and time is needed. But La Liga is a league where 3 teams are going for the title in themselves, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. And, as previous seasons have proven there is hardly any measure of error in Spanish football, you drop points especially at home and you lose league titles.

If the rot continues and remember this is one game, but if results don’t come in and if Bale underperforms like he did at the weekend, could Zidane just think that he was right and leave the club. Crazier things have happened and it wouldn’ t be a surprise. Patience is thin at Madrid and Zidane isn’t one of those that waits around to be sacked. The next six weeks will be telling if he walks for a second time.

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Pressure on Zinedine Zidane at its greatest to beat Barcelona

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Zinedine Zidane the magic man is back at Real Madrid and this coming season all of the pressure will be on the Frenchman to deliver the title and usurp Barcelona who have been completely dominant.

When Zidane came back to Real in March the club hardly exploded and indeed didn’t really improve under him but at the end of the day he was brought back earlier to just stabilise the ship. Zidane will know as will the fans that the real business with the club will commence when the league season kicks off in August. And you can forget about the Champions League. Whilst they will fight to be champions of Europe once again the priority will be about winning La Liga. Incredibly Madrid have only won 1 La Liga title in the past 7 years.

Madrid have spent big and the purchase of Eden Hazard from Chelsea is their star signing. He is the one that is supposed to bring the balance back to the team. But Hazard as great as he is, can go missing in games. It will be Zidane’s task to guide the Belgian through the season where consistency becomes key to success.

Paul Pogba has been hinted at but he will have to fall into place and one wonders if his signing will be good for such a sensitive player. Even Ronaldo got booed at the Bernabeu.

The truth is that Zidane is about to undergo the biggest challenge of his career. Not only does he have to perform well on his return, and remember they say never go back to your old clubs. But he has to stop Barcelona from winning the league which is easier said than done. And of course Barca will not be the only threat to Madrid this season with their city rivals Atletico Madrid making huge progress and buying Joao Felix who is supposed to be the next big player. They will be in with a shout for the league too.

Zidane will need to find a good balance with his team and they will have to attack and be much more aggressive this season with the ball. One finds that Madrid just aren’t quite there and need a striker that can get them 30 goals a season. Is it simple that the club still haven’t recovered from losing Ronaldo? Benzema is good but he isn’t Ronaldo.

Maybe just maybe Zidane will give another chance to Gareth Bale who in truth has done little wrong. Zidane simply has the greatest season challenge of his career to date.

 

 

Gareth Bale remains main Real Madrid problem

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There appears to have been no movement whatsoever on the outstanding problem issue at Real Madrid this summer: Gareth Bale. All reports indicate the club are desperate to offload the Welsh forward in this window but the player has absolutely no intentions of leaving, and no other clubs are in a position to afford him.

Los Blancos have sanctioned a huge summer spend which has seen five first-team players added worth a total in transfer fees of €300m plus a mass increase in their wage bill. To date, only Marcos Llorente has left the club – joining Atletico Madrid in a €40m move – this summer, with Bale’s massive wages said to be severely restricting the club’s ability to do more business. Continue reading

Why PSG should sell Neymar and get Gareth Bale

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For all his brilliance Neymar is becoming a headache for French champions PSG and perhaps now is the time to sell the Brazilian, and in his place they should get Gareth Bale.

At the moment Neymar is clearly unhappy at PSG and if we are being honest he never wanted to be at the club, his desire was to remain at Barcelona. However two seasons ago even Barca could not resist the 200m euros that PSG were offering for Neymar’s services and the Brazilian soon became the most expensive player in football history.

Neymar has not been able to help PSG with their ultimate dream of winning the Champions League but they have dominated in France and Neymar has been brilliant with only a succession of injuries hampering his time in Paris.

The truth is Neymar is unhappy and there was talk that he could be sold to Real Madrid, however Neymar only has one destination on his mind and that is to play again for Barcelona. The Catalan giants would most probably welcome him back as they look to sell Phillipe Coutinho who has had a terrible time with the club after his 120m move to them from Liverpool. Ousmane Dembele hasn’t adapted well too and he is another player who could be sold. This means that Barcelona would have the funds to buy Neymar back.

But what of PSG, who would rather not lose the services of Neymar? Well you have to question why they would want to keep a player who doesn’t want to play for them anymore. The solution then for PSG is to look around for a quality playmaker that is currently unhappy with his club and situation and Gareth Bale at Real Madrid seems to fit that description perfectly.

Bale has been tremendous at Madrid but it is clear that he is not in coach’s Zinedine Zidane’s future plans. The problem for a move for most clubs is that Bale demands around 14m euros salary a year. Again this is a figure that PSG could most likely afford and if the French club made a bid for Bale one would expect that the Welshman would be happy to join the club.

And that really is the key for both Neymar and Bale, motivation. Both would feel re energised and refreshed with their new clubs, scaling new heights and get their hunger and their mojo back. Could Neymar really go back to Barcelona and could Bale be on his way to PSG? In football you never know but on the face of it the moves would make perfect sense for both players.

Zinedine Zidane showed a lack of class not playing Gareth Bale in final Real Madrid game

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Is it simply a clash of styles that Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and Gareth Bale have never got on? At the weekend in the final La Liga game of the season and what appears to be Bale’s final game for the club, Zidane did not start the Welshman, and then didn’t even bring him on as Real Madrid lost at home to Real Betis 2-0.

It was an act of cold power from the French legend and a final reminder that Zidane never really cared for Bale. The same Bale who scored countless goals for the club including single handily beating Liverpool in the last seasons Champions League final that saw an incredible bicycle kick. Even then Zidane did not start Bale and it is evident that the game changed the moment he came on.

It’s a shame that the relationship between the two has had to end like this, but it’s even a greater loss that Bale did not start the game and then get substituted late on and get one final proper applause from the home crowd. Please let’s not forget Bale’s six seasons at the club which included 102 goals and 13 trophies, 4 of those Champions League titles.

Zidane mind numbingly played it down, but we’ve been here before with Madrid and their politics and it is blindingly obvious that Bale has played his last game with the club.

It is how business seems to be done at Real Madrid and at the same time Zidane might be right to want Bale out of the club if they need to go forward. Bale in that sense is a reminder of a team from a few years ago and not now. At the same time Bale does have a contract for another 3 years and a huge salary reported to be 14m a season, so selling Bale might be harder than the club think.

At 29 Madrid will be hoping to get the 100m money back that they spent on the player when they signed him from Tottenham at the start of the 2013/14 season. While Bale still has the quality and still has at least 4-5 seasons at the top of his game he is one for picking up injuries and Madrid not always playing him this season has meant that he hasn’t been in the shop window so to speak. Plus it doesn’t help that this is unquestionably the clubs worst season in a decade.

Bale doesn’t have to walk, his contract is legit, but the most likely outcome will be a loan or swap deal and money perhaps to a club like PSG who would be able to afford hi wages, we will wait and see. But Zidane created his own faux pas at the weekend and really should have allowed Bale to say goodbye properly.

 

Zinedine Zidane’s biggest season is coming up at Real Madrid

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They say never go back, but in the case of Zinedine Zidane that is what he did at Real Madrid. Walking away after the 2018 Champions League final win over Liverpool, Madrid went into meltdown. Not only did Zidane leave but so did Cristiano Ronaldo and president Florentino Perez went through two managers before Zidane waltzed his way back into the Bernabeu 10 months after leaving.

Truth is though results have not improved since he took over from the beleaguered and unfortunate Santiago Solari. Zidane holds just a 50% win rate compared to a near 70% from his first spell. One wonders if the appointment of Zidane should have been delayed until the end of the season, because at the moment everything looks so deflated even with Zidane in charge.

Real Madrid’s latest defeat came at the hands of Real Sociedad in a 3-1 loss, though to be fair Madrid have never travelled well up to Basque Country. And it does feel that players have switched onto holiday mode and the league still has one more game to go. Real will finish 3rd whatever happens and that guarantees Champions League football for next season, and next season is what it’s really all about for the club.

There will be huge change at the club in the summer and this is when Zidane will be making some sweeping changes to the club. Gareth Bale is almost certain to leave the club. The Welshman still boasts superb quality and would be a fantastic addition to any club in the world, but he needs change, a refresher course so to speak and Madrid still know that he is worth at least 70 million euros to buyers. Toni Kroos seems to have let the season pass him by and could leave also.

But one wonders if Zidane is really ready to shake the apple tree up. Is it time for Sergio Ramos and Marcelo to depart, staple players of the team in the 2010s, but one has to question if their hunger and desire is really there at the club anymore. If they can convince Zidane that it is then maybe they will stay. Karim Benzema who has actually had a decent personal season with the club may have played his last only because of the players that could be coming in.

Madrid have been linked to the likes of Eden Hazard, Neymar and even Kylian Mbappe. It will be interesting to see who the club bring in, but for sure they will have to sell first and at least 6 first team players will be playing their last games for the club next weekend.

For Zidane his 2nd term at Madrid really starts at the end of this season and it could be a career defining one. This will be the season targeted as the comeback one, Barcelon beware.