By Alex Fisher
Last Updated: 24th July 2019
Gareth Bale has enjoyed remarkable success at Real Madrid but his time in Spain looks to be coming to an end. The question is, where will the Wales international end up?
Bale was Florentino Pérez’s marquee signing in 2013 after a stellar Premier League season with Tottenham that saw him score 26 goals and win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award.
Madrid splashed over €100 million to lure Bale to La Liga and he was touted as a long-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.
He has delivered the goods for Los Blancos, but injuries have limited his playing time and he looks set to depart, with a move to China before the deadline on Tuesday 3rd September leading the betting.
Scorer of big goals
Bale made a flying start to life in the Spanish capital with 22 goals in 44 games in all competitions, including the winner in the Copa del Rey final and the second goal in their Champions League final victory over Atlético Madrid.
Having helped secure ‘La Decima’ in 2013/14, Bale continued his record of scoring in big finals with a goal in FIFA Club World Cup final.
He delivered 17 goals in his second season and improved that to 19 as Madrid lifted the Champions League again in 2015/16.
Another Champions League winners’ medal came in 2016/17 as part of a quadruple; and 12 months later he scored one of the greatest goals to grace a final as Madrid brushed Liverpool aside to retain their crown.
Time on the treatment table
Injuries have blighted Bale’s stay in Madrid, though, the 30-year-old missing 71 games as muscular and ankle problems have hampered his opportunities.
His absences have significantly increased in recent seasons, with the 2016/17 campaign a particularly low point as calf, hip and ankle injuries saw him miss 29 matches.
Last season was another difficult campaign for Bale, and it appears to have pushed Zinedine Zidane’s patience to its limit.
Zidane has hinted Bale will leave Madrid before the deadline. Now it is where he goes, with reports of a £1 million-a-week deal in China is already on the table.
China? Paris? Spurs?
A move away from Madrid is probably exactly what Bale needs. He has been whistled by the club’s fans on more than one occasion, and has reportedly never integrated fully into the Spanish life.
Whether China would be the best option remains unclear. Bale is still in his prime and a move to the money-rich Chinese Super League could be seen as a financially-motivated decision.
Particularly because some of Madrid’s fellow European heavyweights appear interested.
Bayern Münich and Paris Saint-Germain are both riding high in the markets to sign Bale, the latter in a deal that could see Neymar move the other way if reports are to be believed.
An emotional return to Tottenham is also high in the betting, although Manchester United have long been linked with bringing Bale back to England.