The Welsh winger is out of favour at the Santiago Bernabeu and looks set to leave the club this summer. So could he be playing in Germany next season?
Gareth Bale was back on the scoresheet on Saturday. The 28-year-old netted in Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Leganes in La Liga after starting in a second string line-up for Los Blancos. However, he will not be in the team on Tuesday.
The Welsh winger has fallen out of favour with coach Zinedine Zidane and has been overtaken in the pecking order by both Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez. And when he was hauled off at half-time against Juventus earlier this month, it looked like the beginning of the end for the former Tottenham midfielder in Spain.
“I have to make choices and I’ve got some very good players in the squad,” Zidane said ahead of the game against Leganes when asked about Bale. “There are some players who are performing well at the moment. There are still more games to come and I’ll be relying on him. It’s not true that I don’t play him.”
At most, Madrid have six more matches this season, starting with the Champions League second leg at home to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, which Real will start with a 2-1 advantage following last week’s win at the Allianz Arena.
Bale did not feature for a single minute in that match and appeared anything but happy as he trudged through the mixed zone after the game. But could he swap Madrid for Munich in the summer like his former team-mate James Rodriguez did last July? Here, Goal takes a closer look…
ARE BAYERN REALLY INTERESTED IN BALE?
With Arjen Robbery (34) and Franck Ribery (35) in the twilight of their playing careers, Bayern definitely need to bring in at least one winger in the summer window and the German champions are one of a number of clubs monitoring Bale’s situation.
For his part, the Welshman usually gives short shrift to transfer talk, but in a recent interview with German newspaper
SportBild he refused to rule out a move to the Bundesliga giants.
“In football, you can never say never,” he said in an interview arranged to mark the opening of an office by Stellar, the agency which represents him, in Munich.
“At the moment, I play football for Madrid and I enjoy it. Bayern have a fantastic team and have always been one of the most successful clubs in Europe in the past. Being linked with this club is an honour for everyone. But, now, I am a Real Madrid player.”
Bale would favour a move back to the Premier League, but would consider a club like Bayern after largely enjoying his experience in Madrid since his €100m move from Spurs in 2013.
BALE’S CURRENT ‘CRISIS’ AT REAL MADRID
Bale’s stock has fallen at Real. No longer a first-choice player in the important games, the Welshman has been left to feed off scraps and he is now featuring mainly for the second string.
That was not the plan for player or club and represents a quite a fall from grace after he was signed for €100m in 2013 and then given the backing of Zidane after the Frenchman’s unveiling in January 2016.
Zidane told the media that he planned to play with Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo in attack, but the three have hardly featured together this season and only the Portuguese is a guaranteed starter for Madrid these days.
Injuries and a loss of form plus the emergence of Isco, Asensio and Lucas have hampered Bale’s progress and Madrid would definitely consider his sale this summer – especially if it allows them to bring in another forward.
HOW REALISTIC IS BALE TO BAYERN?
Bayern are looking at Bale and definitely need a player of his type, but the German giants may be put off by his injury record (given that they have plenty of problems in that department already) and also his age (he is 29 next summer).
The Munich side would only consider a transfer if the winger is allowed to leave for a reasonable price. A fee up to €70m could tempt them, but any more is likely to be seen as excessive by the Bundesliga champions.
Relations between Bayern and Real are good, though, following the two-year loan move which saw James swap Madrid for Munich last summer. Los Blancos are also keen to sign Robert Lewandowski and may faciliitate a deal for Bale if they believe it will help them to sign the Poland striker.
However, Bayern have said that Lewandowski is not for sale and at this stage, Bale still seems more likely to return to the Premier League, particularly as Madrid will want to recoup as much as possible of the €100m they paid Tottenham in 2013.