Noah the cat, Football, Alex the husband. That’s how my favourite things in life list reads, hell, on some days it goes Noah the cat, Football, Gin, Alex the Husband. Gin ranks between the football and the husband, because invariably one or the other has caused me to turn to it. Now, Alex the husband knows this, but for marital harmony, I wouldn’t get it on a banner and put it on the living room wall after we’d had a row. Gareth Bale however certainly would.
We know this after the infamous ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid - in that order’ banner did the rounds on social media after being held aloft by Bale after playing for his beloved Wales. His love of golf is also well known, and Bale might think Boris Johnson is still the London Mayor, but he knows all about whos who in the world of golf. His priorities are clear, and he’s never hidden that.
While that’s fine for Bale - though spare a thought for his wife and kids, who presumably rank at four and five on the banner scale for him - it certainly wasn’t fine for Real Madrid, who Bale has clashed with almost since the day he arrived.
For a player who’s scored so many key goals for them and turned in so many match-winning performances on the biggest of all occasions - despite what Cristiano Ronaldo’s back page hogging celebrations might have you believe, Bale has never been loved in Madrid, and the player himself has never loved being in Madrid.
The language barrier has always been an issue - and his quiet nature off the field never tied in with the Galacticos of Real Madrid, yet the problems now run far deeper than that. Plenty of key players at clubs are quiet off the field and might have struggled with a language barrier, and been happy to stay and sign new contracts - loved by the fans even. But few players survive being publically told they’re not wanted by the manager, booed frequently by the fans and lambasted time and time again in the media.
That is the situation Bale is now facing, and while he still performs on the field for Real Madrid - when he’s fit to do so, with his injury record also providing a bone of contention between player and club - Bale’s time at Real Madrid has looked like it’s been coming to an end for a while.
Gareth Bale practising his golf swing in training ðð
Now, instead of the slow procession towards death at the club, Bale could actually have a viable option to leave and save face - and keep a healthy salary as well. Of course, the player and his agent made their feelings about Zinedine Zidane’s comments and Real Madrid’s attempts to shove him off to China very clear, with Bale willing to sit on the bench or leave the stadium far earlier than he should for the duration of his rather lengthy contract in order to pick up his astronomical weekly wage and enjoy the sunny golf courses in Spain.
That’s option one. Option two is a move to Manchester United in a cash plus player deal if Paul Pogba’s dream move was to go ahead. Zidane is desperate for him and Pogba is desperate for Madrid. The issue here is, of course, that United are no longer the force they once were, closer to the relegation zone than the top of the Premier League, and with a manager Bale probably wouldn’t trust to drive a golf cart, let alone be at the wheel of the team he trades Madrid in for, no matter how much Ed Woodward offers salary-wise.
Option three is to return to his former club and the club where the fans still love him. Many people would tell you Bale’s best performance came when he retired Maicon during Spurs v Inter Milan, with the defender probably still waking up in a cold sweat thinking of the game. Spurs have a very good squad and are ambitious - more so than ever with Jose Mourinho at the helm looking to restore his reputation and remind everyone he’s a winner.
Mourinho is thought to have enquired about the possibility of bringing Bale back to the club before he agreed to join Spurs, and throughout his managerial career he has been linked with Bale plenty of times. You can imagine the duo would work well together, and having a shot at the Premier League title could well be something Bale fancies before he looks towards the twilight of his career.
Jose Mourinho will credit himself with the resurgence of Dele Alli - Mourinho, of course, would tell someone he took seven days to make the world if he thought they’d believe it - and you can bet your last pound that the Spurs manager thinks he can bring Bale home and back to his absolute best as well.
Now would be the time to make the move, and it could suit all parties involved, with Daniel Levy showing he is willing to break the bank if the prize is shiny enough - just as he did with Jose Mourinho’s salary package, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to see Spurs pay handsomely in terms of wages for Bale if they thought he would bring them a major trophy.
Of course, football is a wild place and things can change quicker than Henry VIII changed his wives - however, even if Zidane did leave Real Madrid, the relationship between Bale and the club has still broken down badly, not to mention how the fans and the media view him, and ending his career back in the UK on a high and being loved by fans could end up being just the ticket for Bale, with Spurs fans certain to forgive him for unveiling a banner reading ‘Wales, Golf, Spurs - in that order’ if he can bring the Champions League or the Premier League to the club.