In 2013, Gareth Bale arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu for a then world record fee of £86 million. The epitome of a Galactico signing. On paper, the former Spurs winger is a Los Blancos legend.
An impressive goal scoring record and being at the forefront of their era of European dominance. THAT goal against Barcelona, THAT goal against Liverpool. The list of accolades and memories goes on for Bale. But Madrid can be a harsh place for even the best of footballers.
Zinedine Zidane and the Welsh international have been at loggerheads for years now. A combination of the Frenchman’s tactics, Bale’s injury record and the inability of the latter to fit into the club’s culture have left the two poles apart. The former Southampton prodigy has now been left in the cold as Zidane has rebuilt Real with a breadth of hungrier, younger talent collectively costing over £300 million.
“We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team.”Zidane on Bale’s future
Bale’s Real Madrid career is all but over, yet where does he go from here? Reports suggest he has a lucrative offer from China where he would earn a staggering £1 million per week. Tenuous transfer links to Europe with former side Spurs, Manchester United, Bayern and PSG have also been made.
He could also choose to see out the next 3 years of his Los Blancos contract worth a staggering £600,000 per week, playing golf. Regardless, whatever Gareth Bale chooses all comes down to 2 factors: Ambition and mentality.
The first option is Asia, more specifically China. The CSL is recruiting more and more talented players from European leagues, making them trade off elite level football for elite level paychecks. Now their reported offer would make Bale the best paid player in world football. Mouthwatering to say the least. China continues to remain a polarising topic for the footballing world. People’s opinions on it will vary on a individual by individual basis.
On one hand, the prestige of being the best paid player is a title in itself. Bale’s already proven his worth in European football, won everything there is to win in Spain and has done everything he can in a white shirt. Why shouldn’t he go to China? 30 years old, go out with a final big pay day! If the average Joe on the street was offered a job earning £50,000 compared to his existing £40,000 per year, he wouldn’t decline it for the sake of loyalty, don’t be stupid.
Then on the other hand, the classic argument of ambition and selling out. Gareth, you’re already on £600,000 per week, have endorsements with Adidas, EA, BT Sport and Lucozade and live a life better than 99.9% of people in the world. Do you really need any more money? Again, this all comes down to Bale’s mindset. Does he want to maximise his rationality, earning as much as possible or be influenced by the legacy he leaves and the hunger of more trophies. All to do with behavioural economics.
Bit part player?
Furthermore, this ties into the forward’s option of staying at the Bernabeu. Poor Marco Asensio has now been hit with an ACL injury and could open a door for Bale to stay put. No longer one of the first names on the teamsheet with Eden Hazard’s arrival, but perhaps an option off the bench. Zidane doesn’t look like he’ll move on his stance on Bale. But this injury has given a glimmer of hope for his career at Real.
Once again, what is Gareth Bale’s head saying? Do I want to stay at Real, and earn an easy £600,000 per week for a handful of game for the next 3 years? (I happily would, just saying). Or do I want to move to another big club, play a starring role for the final few years I have left and go somewhere where the fans appreciate me?
A part of me feels sorry for the former Tottenham wideman. So much so that I want him to sit on the bench and just annoy Madrid as payback for their treatment of him. His record is remarkable, he’s turned up in big games, given everything he has for the badge and been a huge part of Madrid’s golden era of European dominance. Hailed a legend at any other club, instead he’s had his car attacked and been treated like a mercenary, just because he can’t speak a bit of Spanish. He scored a bicycle kick in the Champions League Final, give the man a break!
But why leave for China or rot on the bench when you still have so much left to give? Prove Zidane and Madridistas wrong by going to another top European club. Somewhere where man of the match performances are appreciated. It’s easy to say that from my position as a football fan. But my view on it is, Gareth Bale doesn’t need a bumper pay rise, £600,000 is incredible itself. I believe he should stay in Europe for at least 2-3 years, maybe Bayern or PSG to shine once again. Then after that, maybe go to China for that nice final paycheck.
I would just hate to see a clearly hurt man rot in China or the Madrid subs bench when he still has something to offer. Yes he has refused to celebrate with teammates and failed to adapt to Spanish culture. But is that really something to attack him about?
At the end of the day, this all comes down to his mentality, but that’s my perspective on Gareth Bale’s situation, what do you think the Welsh international should do? Let us know on Twitter @TasteofFtbl