When Gareth Bale first swapped the surroundings of North London and annual outings in the Europa League for the chance of greater success in Madrid, the decision reaped instant rewards. Bale was an injured bystander when former club Spurs won their last trophy in 2008 but by the end of the 2013/14 campaign, the Welshman had helped his new club Real win two major competitions.
The Copa Del Rey was secured and Bale was instrumental in his side’s Champions League triumph, scoring the winner in extra time as Real Madrid beat cross-city rivals Atletico in the final.
Bale is Back
Despite all the success in terms of medals, injuries have played a significant part in Bale’s time in Spain and supporters of the winger will have been encouraged by his recent performance against Real Sociedad, scoring his second of the new campaign in a 3-1 victory.
Real are a better team with Gareth Bale in their side and Zinedine Zidane’s men found themselves as an even money shot for the title in bet365’s La Liga betting markets in the wake of that win; it’s now even possible to claim a free bet to make that stake. However, even when he is scoring, reports of a return to the Premier League in England are never far away.
Far from being a fan’s favourite as he was with Tottenham, Bale has been jeered by certain sections of the Real Madrid support in recent weeks. Reports of a rift with Cristiano Ronaldo appeared almost as soon as the Welshman arrived in Spain and regardless of the truth behind those rumours, they will only continue to fuel stories linking the player with a return to England.
Real’s official stance on the subject is unclear but a number of respected pundits, including Guillem Balague, have questioned why Gareth Bale would want to leave such a successful club. Manchester United are on their way back under Jose Mourinho and look like genuine Premier League title contenders for the first time since Alex Ferguson left the club. Then there is the question of Spurs, a team that are now competing for the Champions League places and a club with whom Bale may consider he has unfinished business. But they aren’t Real Madrid, a team that is at the pinnacle of world football and far more likely to win the Champions League rather than just make up the numbers.
Ultimately the decision over leaving the Bernabeu may not be down to the player and it’s likely that the club will decide when Gareth Bale’s time in Madrid is up. As impressive as the Welshman may be, he isn’t Cristiano Ronaldo who is regarded as something of a God by Madrid fans and has the scoring record to make him indispensable.
That decision is for the future but for now, Real Madrid are a more potent force with a fit and firing Bale included in their ranks. They are only marginal outsiders for the La Liga title in 2017/18 but what little value there is in this market, lies with Zidane’s men right now.