Gareth Bale's Real Madrid contract expires in the summer and he is set to leave the club; Wales forward is keen to play for his country at this year's World Cup, but could retire if they fail to qualify; Bale could consider move to Premier League or Championship club if Wales reach finals
Saturday 8 January 2022 10:33, UK
Gareth Bale is considering ending his playing career this summer if Wales fail to qualify for this year's World Cup, but could consider joining a Championship club if he helps his country make the tournament in Qatar.
Wales face a play-off against Austria in Cardiff in March and, if they win, they will then face a showdown against either Scotland or Ukraine for a place in the finals.
Wales have not qualified for the World Cup since 1958 and Bale is keen to represent his country at the tournament before the end of his career.
But if Wales fail at the play-off stage, retirement could be on the cards for Bale, whose Real Madrid contract expires at the end of the season.
However, if Wales do reach their first World Cup in 64 years, Bale could consider signing a short-term deal with a Premier League or Championship side to ensure he is ready for the tournament.
It is believed Bale, who turns 33 in July, could consider joining Cardiff or Swansea.
Bale joined Real from Tottenham for a then world-record fee in 2013 and has gone on to win four Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles in the Spanish capital.
However, he has been out of favour at the Bernabeu in recent seasons and spent the 2020/21 campaign back on loan at Spurs.
Under Carlo Ancelotti this season, Bale has made just three appearances for Real.
Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol...
"This is an interesting story about Gareth Bale because obviously he is out of contract in the summer. He has always maintained he will stay at Real Madrid until the end of his deal, even though he may not be playing regularly.
"David Ornstein has written something in The Athletic about it today and it tallies exactly with some information we've had as well, which is that Bale is focussing on Wales and the World Cup this year.
"Of course Wales have got this big play-off coming up in March against Austria and then they will play Scotland or Ukraine if they get through the first tie.
"I think if Wales qualify for the World Cup then he's going to be without a club in the summer because his contract is set to expire at Real Madrid. So what I think he will then do is try to sign a short-term contract with a club back in the Premier League or the Championship.
"I actually think it is more likely that it could be a club in Wales in the Championship that he signs a short-term contract with.
"And if Wales don't qualify for the World Cup I think there is a very good chance that Bale will just retire from football when his contract runs out in the summer because he feels he's achieved everything he set out to achieve in the game and if he's not going to be able to play in the World Cup with Wales then he'll retire."
Who will be on the move in January?
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