Where will Gareth Bale win his fifth Champions League title?
As the world prepared to be held spellbound by the climax to football's greatest club competition, one man made a solemn determination. He would remind the football populace about his incredible talents. Zinedine Zidane cared less, so he started the Welshman on the bench. His time would come, though; as a second-half substitute.
It took Gareth Bale just two minutes and two seconds after coming on to leave everyone spiralling in delirium. With an audacious goal that’ll surely be talked about for decades, the much-maligned forward stung Liverpool like a fiery desert scorpion. Oh, and the 28-year-old wasn't done there.
Another acrimonious attempt from 30-yards completed Loris Karius' worst football nightmare. The wind had been knocked from Liverpool. There would be no resurgent comeback. Not without Mohamed Salah, who was already draped across a hospital bed.
Back to Bale and how he inflated his price tag even without a chance of playing at the 2018 World Cup. Wales manager, Ryan Giggs, labelled him the greatest Welsh player he’s ever seen. For Bale, there’s no question about his technical ability nor his talent and skill. There’s, however, a looming question mark about his future.
Here’s a quote that has become widely publicised:
“I need to be playing week-in-week-out and that hasn’t happened this season for one reason or another. I have to sit down in the summer and discuss my future with my agent and take it from there.” – Bale.
For someone in his cadre, brimming with a British equaling record of four Champions League titles, in a market ridiculed by inflation, Bale can command an astronomical fee while moving to a European heavyweight who can: a) Win him his fifth Champions League title. b) Guarantee him regular playing time.
There are few teams in that hemisphere for Bale. Crossing off Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, the half-circle gets even smaller.
Only one Premier League team has been constantly linked to Gareth Bale. Jose Mourinho has done a poor job in regards to hiding his admiration for the 28-year-old. One wouldn’t fault the self-proclaimed Special One; Bale would be an upgrade to everyone he has in attack.
The money wouldn’t be an issue. However, the Glazers would be wary of paying an outrageous fee for a player who’s almost 30. Signing Bale would be bad news for Marcus Rashford. Nevertheless, it would make Manchester United contenders in Europe.
With a few tweaks here and there, Bayern Munich could scoop the title they last won in 2013. One major change required must be directed at replacing the old guard in the attack. Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben are amazing forwards but their combined age is 69. It's evident with the number of times they get injured.
Thomas Muller is a silent killer but he's fast becoming quiet. In an injury-ravaged season, Bale still managed to score twice as many League goals as Muller – 16. Bayern might’ve lost Douglas Costa to Juventus by inserting a clause in his loan deal which allows the Old Lady to buy him for €40million.
The Bavarians need a fresh leg in their attack that’s not Kingsley Coman. With his renewed confidence and fitness, Bale could help transform Die Roten from local Champions to European destroyers.
Is there even the faintest possibility that Gareth Bale could join Chelsea? Of course. Although the Blues have lost their mojo in the transfer market in recent times, they can still wield enough money and influence to facilitate a Premier League return for Bale.
As a matter of necessity, Chelsea needs to make a marquee signing in their attack. Pedro is spent. Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud guarantee little. Willian is too inconsistent. This makes Eden Hazard the overworked horse. Bale would relieve the workload on the Belgian. On the Champions League front, Chelsea remains the last English side to win it. Who says they can’t win it again, with or without Bale?
If Madrid wants Bale to stay, every other club may as well forget about acquiring him. Los Blancos have always been Bale’s first choice. A quartet of Champions League titles. One La Liga title. A couple of UEFA Super Cup and World Club Cup titles. Factor in a staggering salary and the cosy life in Spain’s capital city playing for one of the greatest teams in the history of football. It’s hard to turn your back from that.
So if Real Madrid can guarantee the speedy attacker some more playing time, all the aforementioned suitors can as well forget him. Taking an inference from Madrid’s ruthlessness in the Champions League, another title might not be too far away.
Bale has reached the summit with Madrid, while Zidane didn't rate him so much as a team player. The Frenchman is gone now, though. If Manchester United can cough up any closer to what they did for Paul Pogba, Real wouldn’t say no. Just as they didn’t to Chelsea for Morata. United will sign Bale and become a frightful team.