Rest, Holiday, New Club (In That Order) . . . Gareth Bale Rules Out One Move But Leaves The Door Open To Others

Gareth Bale faces the media in Cardiff. Pic: Getty Images.

Rest, Holiday, New Club (In That Order) . . . Gareth Bale Rules Out One Move But Leaves The Door Open To Others

By Rob Carbon

Gareth Bale has two more games to go – Belgium on Saturday night and the Netherlands on Tuesday – before he puts his feet up and takes what he believes is a well-earned rest on a family holiday.

He may not have had the most demanding of final seasons at Real Madrid – seven appearances and only 290 minutes – but the now 32-year-old fears for the future of some of his contemporaries as the demands on the world’s best players continues to grow.

Bale’s time in La Liga appears to be over after a trophy laden nine-year period in the Spanish capital and he laughed as he unequivocally quashed rumours of a possible return at Getafe – “I definitely won’t be playing there.”

That will have been music to the ears of the ambitious Cardiff City fans, who are hoping he can link up with his home-town team in the build-up to the World Cup in Qatar.

Out of contract and available this summer, he is inevitably becoming linked with more and more clubs.

“I haven’t had any conversations with anyone yet and I haven’t thought too much about it. It’s been five days since we knew we’d qualified, so no time to really think,” said Bale.

“Once these internationals are over, I’ll have plenty of time to go on holiday and decide my future then. That’ll give me a chance to speak with my wife, family and agent and the conversations will happen.

“I have no idea if it will be for six months, 12 months or two years. We will sit down and see what excites me most.


“I just want to be playing going into the World Cup to be as fit as I can. I think I heard the manager saying, ideally he wants everybody to be playing and everybody wants to be playing.

“Hopefully, I can enjoy my holiday and then decide where I want to be and what I want to do to try and play games. Once I get back into playing regular football, my body will get more robust and a bit better.

“It’s very difficult when you’re in and out of a team to get a rhythm in terms of your fitness and health. Any player will tell you, playing week-in, week-out, your body becomes more robust, you get used to it and you get fitter by doing that.

“I just need to play games and I’ll be good to go. Everyone knows there’s a World Cup in November and December and any player, whoever they are, will tell you they’ll have one eye on the World Cup.

“It’s a major tournament that everybody wants to play in. I guess it will be a win, win situation for whoever I go to because hopefully I’ll be playing well and getting myself ready.”

Getting into peak shape for the World Cup is the top priority for Bale. It is also a goal that is becoming harder and harder for the top players to achieve as the demands of club and international football continue to increase their workload.

“It’s crazy. We were speaking the other day at lunch and someone said De Bruyne could play 79 games next season and have a three-week break,” added Bale.


“It’s too much and things obviously need to change. Players will tell you there are way too many games and that it’s impossible to play at a high level for that amount of games.

“There will be consequences in the long term. People’s bodies can’t deal with that sort of calendar, year after year. Something has to change and people at the top of the game have to do something.

“Unfortunately, money comes into it. It’s a business and they want to make more money. For player welfare, I think money needs to be overlooked and they need to look after the players. Without the players there is no product.”

Money may not be as powerful a motivation in his career these days having picked up £600,000 per week in recent years at Real Madrid, but it has never been part of the equation for him when playing for his country.

It is very much for the love, not the money that he turns out for his nation. That is a similar view to many of his team mates.

“We don’t play for our country for the money. We turn up and we just want to play in front of the fans, achieve success for our country and make our country proud,” he added.

“For us it has never been about money. We are not a big nation and we can’t pay big. I’m not even sure I take a match fee – I just try to take a box every game at the stadium, that’ll do me.”


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