As sports fans, I believe that all of us have seen stellar players leave teams that we support. The live and breath, die for your team mentality that is within fans is not generally the same feeling that athletes consider their teams. Much like any of us might leave a job that we really enjoy for a once in a lifetime opportunity somewhere else, so might a player of our team leave for greener pastures. It takes a truly remarkable player to spurn more money and greater prestige to continue to strive for excellence at his present club. As Gareth Bale has elevated his play to a transcendent level of football, rumors have swirled that he will soon be departing our club, whether or not Champions League performance is achieved. The time to depart White Hart Lane is now, many newspapers, announcers and even Spurs supporters are stating. I believe that this is not the case and argue that Bale will in fact be at Spurs for a long while, if not for his entire career.
When discussing Bale, the obvious comparison is almost always Christiano Ronaldo. They play in a similar fashion, in a similar position and both elevated their play at nearly the same age. If this analogy stays its course, the obvious conclusion will be Bale playing for Los Blancos in the very near future, and shining for them. But again, if we decide to continue to this course, Ronaldo still proceeded to provide Manchester United with two more seasons of glory after his breakout season, winning his first Premier League title before leaving for a record fee. If we consider this Bale's breakout season and still compare him to Ronaldo, we should still have two more years with him. This also may coincide perfectly with the decline of Ronaldo in Real, possibly making Bale more of a necessary buy and allowing Levy to hike the price of the transfer to astronomical levels.
But is the situations surrounding Bale now and when Ronaldo departed similar? I argue not at all and that is a good thing for Tottenham Hotspur. When the move was finalized, Ronaldo was going home. Yes I know he is Portuguese but a return to the Iberian peninsula must have felt like a bit of homecoming to Ronaldo. The Premier League was not a permanent destination, rather a place for Ronaldo to grow in his gifts before his inevitable move to Spain. Bale instead, would be a visitor in a very foreign world, separated from his family, to whom he is very close, and placed in new surroundings with immense pressure. While Bale has shown interest in playing continental football, this may be a goal that he wishes to tackle at a later date. This is good, as it seems that in a sense of continental football, Bale is more closely related to another Manchester United great than Ronaldo: David Beckham.
Beckham was able to achieve an incredible career at Man United before beginning his continental football. When he left, Man United still cashed in and bade him farewell after 8 years of fantastic football. Beckham was 28 when he left for Real and still had many good years ahead of him but provided Man United with his best football and the titles to go along with it. Beckham achieved glory with his British side and, being from the UK and trained in British academies, Bale may be inclined to do so as well. In this case, four more years of Bale is not unheard of and if he would leave, Bale would do so to a thunderous applause and considered one of the greatest players to ever put on a Spurs kit.
There is one final way that I see this Bale saga turning out: that of Steven Gerrard. Gerrard was offered millions by Chelsea and turned it down to continue to play for the club he loved as a child. While Bale may not have cheered for Spurs as a kid, his roots are firmly planted here, with a child, a fiancé, and family he loves being close to. He has a manager in AVB that truly understands his gifts and is helping Bale achieve this level of play. Bale bought into Levy's plans and if he continues to do so, he may be the talisman of a team that can achieve multiple Champions League appearances, and perhaps win the League for the first time in over half a century. The love that the crowd has for Bale is apparent and I believe that he feels the same way towards us. If Bale stays, glory is upon him, as he may be hailed as one of the Spurs' greatest players, a man that would restore Tottenham to its rightful place amid the greatest in Europe. If Bale stays for the entirety of his career, spurning the historic teams of Barca, Real, Juve, and Bayern, the stadium that we are in the midst of making would be considered the "house that Bale built." If Bale stays, a statue of him standing in front of the new Lane greeting all who come in with his trademark celebration may be built. If Bale is after glory, staying at Tottenham may be his greatest chance to seize it.
In closing, I have seen many players leave their clubs for money, championships, or publicity. Men like Albert Pujols, LeBron James, RVP, and Brett Farve have abandoned eternal legendry for a paycheck or a cheap ring. Bale does not remind me of these players. In Bale, we may have one of a dying breed that will support the team that cherishes him and in doing so will attain a level of stardom one can only dream about.