Gareth Bale has been tipped to return to Real Madrid following his loan at Tottenham this season, where he'll spend one final year under contract before retiring in the summer of 2022.
Bale has long had a strained relationship with Real and the club’s fans, despite his track record of success in the Spanish capital, especially in Champions League finals.
Bale’s relationship with Zinedine Zidane had badly soured by 2018, but it looked as though the Welsh star would have the chance of a fresh start when the Frenchman left soon after that year’s Champions League triumph over Liverpool in Kyiv.
The 31-year-old’s fitness has also been a source of frustration throughout his time in Spain and following Zidane’s return in 2019 he eventually became a fringe player and was benched for most of the latter stages of last season.
The lack of prospects under Zidane paved the way for a loan return to Tottenham, which has given him game time, particularly since February, to build his match sharpness for Euro 2020 with Wales.
“Going into the Euros I wanted to be match-fit. The original plan was to do a season at Spurs and after the Euros still have a year left at Real Madrid. My plan is to go back, that's as far I have planned,” he said during the March international break.
AS writes that Bale’s special fitness plan this season limited him to training just three days a week, including a recovery day, in order to avoid further injury relapses. He has rarely played in the biggest games and has apparently not hidden in the dressing room that his priority is Euro 2020.
It is suggested that his plan is to fulfil the final year of his Real contract, seemingly whether that means playing or not – although Zidane is expected to leave once more – and then retire at the end of next season when he will still be a few weeks shy of his 33rd birthday.
That is said to be the only plan he is currently thinking about, perhaps with putting his body through more than it can handle to try to extend his career any longer not worth the hassle when he has already achieved so much on the pitch - and been paid so handsomely off it.