Wales international Gareth Bale is focused on a strong finish to the season, including the Wales’ Euro 2020 campaign, before contemplating what happens next in his career.
Having long been consigned to the periphery at Real Madrid for various reasons – the primary of which being his alleged fallout with Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane – Bale was shipped off to Tottenham for the 2020-21 campaign in a loan move that appeared then to be an ideal solution for all parties.
Unfortunately for the Welshman, the 31-year-old arrived with a knee injury that required rehabilitation, leading to a slow start to his second spell with Spurs. After waiting until October 18 to feature for the first team, he has completed a full 90 minutes only once – against Wycombe Wanderers in an FA Cup tie.
The silver lining in the dark clouds thereafter appeared as there were positive signs of a return to form prior to the international break, including scoring twice and providing an assist in a resounding 4-0 win over Burnley. Bale was also on spot-on-target twice in a convincing Premier League triumph over Crystal Palace, lifting his goal tally into double figures in all competitions.
The Real Madrid outcast’s immediate focus is on Wales’ FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign – having lost their Group E opener to Belgium as they host the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Meanwhile there seems to be no need for urgency on his part to work out a “solution” to his situation at club level.
“For me, first and foremost, I still have this season, still have plenty of games to go until the Euros,” Bale told the media on Tuesday.
“Going into next season, legally my contract says I have to go back to Real Madrid, which is what I stated. I don’t think that was being disrespectful to anybody.
“Real Madrid are my parent club and, as far as I agreed, I’m on loan at Tottenham until the end of the season. That is the plan so far; the reason I left was because I wanted to play games and get match fit, to enjoy my football.
“Obviously, come the summer I will go back to Real Madrid and we will go from there. I think the plan is to go back, whether then I sit down with my agent and decide something, we will do in the summer.”
“I want to be playing, but in football it’s not just about what you want – it’s also about the other side. I’m concentrating on this season – obviously we have a big game tomorrow – a big end of the season with Tottenham, then the Euros in the summer.
“For me, at the moment, I don’t need to worry about anything else than this season.
“Regarding next season, after the Euros and my summer holiday, we will sit down and go through something then. Hopefully, we will come up with a solution.”
Bale is now apparently only focused on finishing strongly with Spurs, who have finally hoisted themselves back into the running for a top-four finish in the league, with also the possibility of securing silverware as Jose Mourinho’s side prepare themselves to take on an imperious Manchester City side in the EFL Cup final on April 26.
Asked to assess his season so far, the forward replied:
“It’s been okay. It got off to a slow start as I came into Tottenham with a knee injury. Not having played football continuously for a year and a half, it took a little time to get going.
“The past couple of months I’ve felt stronger and stronger – I’ve felt like my form has been there, my speed has been there, I’ve scored some goals.
“I wish it could have started a lot quicker, but also I’m wise enough to know that it does take a bit of time to get your rhythm back. Now that I’m playing, I feel good and hopefully it can continue for the rest of the season, then into the Euros.”
Bale played 84 minutes in last week’s 3-1 defeat to Belgium, besides making a late appearance off the bench in the 1-0 friendly win over Mexico on Sunday.