Let the official posturing over Gareth Bale’s future begin. With ten league games before the Welsh superstar is set to end his Tottenham Hotspur loan and return to Real Madrid, both sides are waging a (muted and stupid) PR battle in the media.
First came Bale’s initial comments last week where he said his current plan is to conclude his one-year loan at Spurs and return to Madrid, comments that were based in PR training and made with the understanding that he’s still under contract with the Spanish giants until the end of his contract in 2022.
Many in the media didn’t fully grasp the nuance of his original statements initially, and there were a ton of bad “Bale just used Tottenham to get match fit” takes in the immediate aftermath. This led Bale to clarify his comments yesterday, making it even clearer that he’s technically still a Real Madrid player and he’s planning on returning to his home club after his loan is up because he hasn’t yet been told that there’s another option.
“Obviously, going into next season, legally my contract says I have to go back to Real Madrid, which is what I stated, which I don’t think is being disrespectful to anybody. That’s legally what I have to do.
“Real Madrid are I guess my parent club and as far as I agreed I was on Tottenham on loan until the end of the season and I go back. That’s the plan so far. The reason I left was because I wanted to play games and get match fit and enjoy my football. Obviously come the summer I will go back to Real Madrid and we’ll go from there. I think the plan is to go back and then whether then I sit down with my agent is something we’ll do in the summer.
“Of course I want to be playing, but other things might get in the way. Obviously in football it’s not just about what you want. It’s the other side. So I’m just concentrating on this season. I have a big game tomorrow and a big end to the season with Tottenham and obviously the Euros in the summer.
“So for me in the summer at the moment I don’t need to worry about anything else apart from his season and regarding next season, after the Euros and my summer holiday, we’ll sit down and we’ll go through something then and hopefully we’ll come up with a solution.”
Now, Real Madrid has entered the chat. In a report in Spanish daily ABC (via SportWitness), Madrid have “made it clear” to Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, that if and when Bale does return, he “will not play” for Real Madrid again and suggested that Barnett should be working towards finding Gareth a new club to play at when the transfer window opens this summer. There are also digs about Bale’s “lack of personality” (lol) and suggestions that “he never wanted responsibility” while a Madrid player (lololol).
The implication is clear: should Bale end up returning to Madrid, he will be paid to train (and presumably, play golf) but won’t get anywhere near the pitch next season.
As a non-Madrid fan (and one who has a vested interest in Gareth continuing to be good and play for Tottenham Hotspur), it has been hilarious and fun to see just how much Bale is motivated by spite towards Madrid over the past year. It didn’t hit me at first just how badly Gareth wants Madrid to pay him what is owed to him. And fair play to that — he’s on a ridiculous contract that the club is on the hook for, and he’s hell-bent to get every single dime of that money, whether it comes entirely from Madrid or subsidized in part from another club. Madrid, in turn, clearly want him gone and as soon as possible. I get the sense that they’d let him go for a ham sandwich if they can find a club that would pay the entirety of his outrageous wages until his contract expires and they can finally cut him loose.
That’s unlikely to happen, of course. There are still reports floating out there that Bale’s loan contract includes an extension for a second year at the same subsidized rate as this season. I’m still also convinced that this opens the door for Daniel Levy to do some further negotiation and maybe use Madrid’s desperation to get Bale’s wages off their books into an even better loan agreement for his second year at Tottenham. Can you imagine?