Real Madrid star could announce surprise retirement

Even if Real Madrid go on to win La Liga this season, which looks distinctly possible at this stage, it could still be all change at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer.

With a World Cup to be played at the end of the year, those fringe players at Los Blancos that want to make a splash in Qatar need to be playing regularly.

If they’re not, it could hurt their international ambitions, and to that end a move elsewhere wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility.

In the case of Gareth Bale, even more drastic action could come to pass.

According to David Ornstein in The Athletic, the Welshman will seriously consider retiring from the game altogether if Wales haven’t safely got through the qualification play-offs.

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The Welshman’s contract runs out this summer, and there doesn’t appear to be the appetite on either side to extend a deal that has often been fraught with problems.

Bale’s injuries caused concern for an extended period, and those combined with a general loss of form saw what turned out to be an ill-advised loan to former club, Tottenham Hotspur.

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For the last year to 18 months, Bale’s best moments have arguably been with his national team, and unless they make it to Qatar, it seems that Bale is ready to call it a day.

Given that his salary would probably be prohibitive for all but the biggest sides in Europe, it isn’t really a surprise to understand that relaxed rounds of golf would be far more to Bale’s liking.

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