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Gareth Bale Reportedly Plans Retirement In 2022 After Real Madrid Contract Ends

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Gareth Bale Reportedly Plans Retirement In 2022 After Real Madrid Contract Ends

Gareth Bale is planning to play in this summer's European Championship, return to Real Madrid then potentially retire when his contract ends in 2022.

A report, via Spanish outlet AS, states that Bale has meticulously used his time on loan at Tottenham to prepare for the international tournament with Wales, being careful with his training drills and recovery at the club.

His plan is to return to Real Madrid in the summer to "fulfil the year that remains of his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, then retire from football, as this newspaper has learned" (source: AS).

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Bale will turn 33 in July 2022, so it seems an incredibly early age for such an elite player to call it a day if that is being considered.

While the Spanish newspaper is critical of Bale's time at Tottenham and his total number of starts, Bale has shown spells of real quality, netting 14 goals in 31 appearances this season.

Bale did not start in Wednesday's defeat to Aston Villa (coming on as a second-half substitute) and Ryan Mason explained that this followed conversations that Spurs' interim coach had had with the player.

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"Gareth played the best part of 90 minutes at the weekend [a 2-0 win over Wolves], the most he's played all season in the Premier League," Mason told Sky Sports before the game.

"Gareth is an experienced man and he knows his body. We spoke and he felt it was best for him and his body not to start today. That's all there is."

Being fit for this summer's Euros clearly means a lot to Bale who has never hidden his passion for playing for Wales. His relationship with Real Madrid also appears to have soured (despite his contributions to four Champions League wins during his time there), as the club have looked to move on their highest-earning player but with little success.

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A move to the Chinese Super League in 2019 fell through and the winger was a bit-part player during the 2019/20 season, before he joined former club Tottenham on loan for this season.

The challenge for Real Madrid is finding a club that will match Bale's salary (a reported €692,660 per week) if they don't wish to use him for the final year of his contract.

Bale has had a successful and rewarding playing career. There are also ongoing jokes that he prefers playing for Wales - or playing golf - than involving himself in club football.

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He's also suffered several muscle injuries that have disrupted his career.

Nonetheless, the idea of a player of Bale's quality retiring in his early 30s seems remarkable. And, if Wales qualify for the next World Cup - scheduled for the winter of 2022 - it seems unlikely Bale world turn his back on that.

Will the 2021/22 season really be Bale's last in club football? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

All imagery: PA Images

Topics: Tottenham Hotspur, gareth bale, Wales, Real Madrid

Alex Reid
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