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Gareth Bale Reportedly Heading for Real Madrid Exit on Permanent Deal or Loan

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 22, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 21: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v Athletic de Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 21, 2019 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Gareth Bale will reportedly not play his football at Real Madrid next season and is said to be heading for the Santiago Bernabeu exit, whether it's on a permanent or temporary deal. 

The Welshman's career in Madrid hasn't been as fruitful as he would have hoped, and Marca's Carlos Carpio wrote the remaining weeks of this season will be Bale's last days in Real white.

The Independent reported: "Real Madrid may be forced to loan out [Bale] this summer due to a lack of interest in a permanent transfer for the Wales superstar. "

Zinedine Zidane didn't favour Bale, 29, much during his first stint at Real's helm, and his return in March appears to have signalled the end of any hope the winger had of a revival.

Bale has attracted whistles from the Bernabeu crowd in his last two home appearances. Real are said to fear they won't attract a big enough offer for the player this summer, so they could agree a loan with an option to buy.

Carpio wrote that Bale has suffered 29 injuries during his six seasons with Los Blancos, adding the £85.1 million former world-record signing has played only 53.4 per cent of available minutes at the club.

The former Tottenham Hotspur winger has started 27 times in 40 appearances across all competitions this season, scoring 14 goals and recording six assists. Considering his fallen status and lack of consistency in Madrid, a record of one direct goal involvement every other appearance still isn't too shabby.

As for where the winger could end up, sportswriter Andrew Gaffney ruled a return to north London out due to his age and the logistics of what could be an expensive reunion:

Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC

As for the inevitable Spurs questions, I seriously doubt it. Even if Spurs covered part of his wages it’d be a huge drain on finances, plus Madrid would want an option to make the loan permanent a la James Rodriguez/Bayern. He’d be 31 by the start of the following season.

The Guardian's Ed Aarons reported in October 2016 that Bale's six-year contract would see him earn £350,000 per week after tax, a deal locked down by a €1 billion buyout clause the club might now regret. 

Any outfit that decides to take Bale on loan will have to account for at least a portion of his wages, while Real would prefer some guarantee of an adequate fee for the player at the end of the agreement.

Sacked managers Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari each offered Bale varying responsibility during their stints at the helm earlier this season, but the sense is Zidane has no plans for the player.

This campaign was framed as a chance for those formerly seen to be living in Cristiano Ronaldo's shadow to break out, but AFP's Tom Allnutt noted how that hadn't come to fruition for Bale:

Tom Allnutt @TomAllnuttAFP

Benzema and Bale were both meant to fill the Ronaldo void but their seasons could hardly been more different. Today that came into very clear focus | from @AFP @AFP_Sport https://t.co/LAQOjyra0i

Despite the general consensus regarding Zidane's feelings toward Bale, the manager spoke to reporters after Sunday's 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao and suggested the media reports were unfounded.

He said: "I don't know. Honestly, I don't understand it."

The Wales star has enjoyed a string of career highlights in Madrid and was a part of the first team to win three successive UEFA Champions League titles. One can understand why—even with limited chances—Bale isn't itching to leave Real, with title opportunities usually on offer and taking his wages into account.

He's also illustrated world-class form on plenty of occasions since arriving in 2013, and it's easy to forget just how Bale astonished in some of his better moments for Real Madrid:

Darren Wells of the Mirror said Bale acknowledged the boos aimed in his direction at the Bernabeu on Sunday, though he may not need to put up with the jeers for much longer.

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