Since joining in a then-world-record £85 million move from Tottenham in 2013, Bale has helped the club to four UEFA Champions League titles, scoring a sensational overhead kick in the 2018 final win over Liverpool and scoring an important goal against Atletico Madrid in 2014.
The Wales international has 102 goals and 64 assists from 229 appearances for Los Blancos—yet still he has never managed to win over the club's supporters.
He has reached the stage where he is being roundly jeered during games. There is a feeling in the stands that he has not been reaching the levels he is capable of, and few would have any problem with him now leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.
It's frustrating for the player, as sources close to Bale remain adamant he does not want to leave and would love to see out his contract to 2022.
But a report in Marca this week suggests a loan move could even open up for him this summer if Madrid cannot find a buyer.
With that in mind, Bleacher Report sources have helped put together a list of potential landing spots.
The Bundesliga outfit have been the first club to look into Bale's situation as they seek a new wide forward for next season. Any pursuit of Callum Hudson-Odoi is now on the back burner due to the Achilles injury he suffered against Burnley on Monday. Bayern are one of the few clubs Bale may actually have interest in joining as they can offer genuine European hope to match his ambition to win the Champions League again.
The clubs already have an agreement over James Rodriguez, with the player on a two-year loan deal in Munich. That ends this summer, and there are no signs that Niko Kovac intends to make the player's move permanent. Sources believe that will open the door to a similar agreement for Bale.
Bayern have been paying a loan fee for James, and if Real Madrid are open to a similar deal for Bale it sets the German side in pole position to sign him.
They continue to pursue other options—such as Nicolas Pepe from Lille—but a Bale deal will be explored.
As one insider explained: "It's an interesting option, but first of all Bayern need to know that this is something that interests the player. If he is not committed to it, this will go no further."
It makes plenty of sense that at the age of 29 Bale will look to head back to the Premier League—but there are very few realistic options due to the £650,000-a-week pay packet he collects in Spain.
No English club will match that figure, but United would push the boat out if they feel he is now attainable.
He considered joining them before moving to Real, and sources close to the player have always insisted it is the side that is most tempting to him in England.
But it will only become a possibility if United manage to offload Alexis Sanchez this summer. He is the highest earner at the club but barely figures for the side even when fully fit. Intermediaries are seeking a buyer, and the Chinese market is one avenue being explored.
Eden Hazard is set to leave Stamford Bridge for the Bernabeu, and an interesting twist to the deal could yet be factored in.
The Blues are still unsure whether or not they will be able to sign any players, with a two-window FIFA transfer ban hanging over them. FIFA is refusing to freeze the club's embargo, but there is hope that they will find a way to bring in players on further appeal.
If that is the case, one source suggested that Bale could yet become part of the deal.
Senior figures at Chelsea know Hazard is almost impossible to replace, but Bale is one of the few elite players capable of taking over his role.
If Madrid are willing to enter discussions over a short-term loan with a view to a permanent signing. Hazard's exit will not seem so ominous.
Chairman Daniel Levy is looking to strike a big deal this summer—as long as it comes on his terms. Spurs would not be able to come close to matching Bale's current wages on a permanent transfer, but with the club enjoying a rise in status, thanks to their new stadium and place in this season's Champions League semi-finals, figures at the club insist a return should not be completely ruled out.
Bale's representatives will be sure to let Levy in on any negotiations that open with other teams, to give Spurs a chance to put together their own offer.
If Bale is willing to take a pay cut in order to feel loved again, it could be ideal.