Gareth Bale Wants Real Madrid Stay, Says Agent; Confirms Zinedine Zidane Clash

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 15, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 05: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid looks on during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Real Madrid and Ajax at Bernabeu on March 05, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Gareth Bale's agent has said the winger "wants to play all his career" at Real Madrid, despite suggestions Zinedine Zidane's return to the club could spell the end of his days at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Bale and Zidane didn't enjoy a completely harmonious relationship during the manager's first stint, but Jonathan Barnett appeared on BBC 5 Live Sport's Football Daily podcast and said his client wants to retire at Real:

BBC 5 Live Sport @5liveSport

"The Real Madrid fans that are booing him - their children will look at the goals he's scored and say: 'what a wonderful player'" A special Euro Leagues podcast with Gareth Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett 👇 📲⚽ https://t.co/9DC0a0QEJq https://t.co/7zZoQkC7Jl

"He wants to play all his career for Real Madrid," Barnett said. "If it doesn't work out, we will talk again. He is very happy. He will talk with Zinedine Zidane, and we will go from there. If you let him play how he wants to play, and have a run of games, he can be right up there."

Barnett confirmed the pair didn't see eye to eye when Zidane was previously in charge, adding: "Gareth wanted to play one way, and Zidane wanted him to play another. Over the period of time, it just got worse."

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague recently wrote for BBC Sport that Zidane "does not want to work with Bale," but the specifics of his situation mean a buyer will be difficult to find. Bale will turn 30 in July, is on exorbitant wages and has struggled with injuries over the past few years.

The 29-year-old signed his contract in October 2016 and earns £350,000 per week after tax, according to the Guardian's Ed Aarons.

Bale also failed to feature prominently under Zidane's predecessor, Santiago Solari, who was sacked to make room for the return of the Frenchman, who left the club in May 2018.

Paul Hirst of The Times wrote that Bale appeared intent on mending the links between him and Zidane, though he didn't appear to hold high hopes for the Welshman's future beyond this campaign:

Paul Hirst @hirstclass

Bale seeking talks with Zidane before deciding whether to stay at RM. Zidane likely to involve Bale in squad for rest of the season due to injuries to Vinicius & Lucas Vázquez, but Bale doesn't know whether he's in ZZ's long term plans. The 2 don't have a great history of course.

Finding a buyer willing to meet Real's asking price for the player could prove difficult depending on how much of their £85 million investment Los Blancos wish to recoup.

The former Tottenham Hotspur talisman has a little more than three-and-a-half years remaining on his contract and has a chance of winning some of the biggest trophies available with Los Blancos.

Journalist Richard Hall discussed some of the complexities of selling Bale during a recent appearance on Love Sport Radio:

Love Sport Radio @lovesportradio

⚪ @RichHall80 thinks that Gareth Bale is still determined to still be a key figure in Zinedine Zidane's plans at Real Madrid 📻Tune in- DAB 📲Listen - https://t.co/XWhRQgRLH7 https://t.co/5nATY0Vnaz

Zidane will make his official return to the Real helm at home to Celta Vigo on Saturday, which could be Bale's first chance to impress the new manager in his second dugout debut.