Gareth Bale will ‘DEFINITELY’ play beyond this season if Wales reach the World Cup, Rob Page reveals… but manager admits he has no idea where Real Madrid outcast will end up
- Gareth Bale’s contract at Real Madrid expires at the end of the current season
- Despite rarely featuring for the Spanish giants, he still plays a key part for Wales
- There has been speculation over whether Bale could retire in the summer
- Rob Page says Bale will definitely stay on if Wales make the World Cup in Qatar
Wales manager Rob Page has confirmed that Gareth Bale will continue his playing career past this season if the country reaches the World Cup.
Questions have been raised about whether the 32-year-old could retire in the summer, with his contract at Real Madrid expiring at the end of the season.
Though he rarely features for the Spanish giants, he still plays a massive part of the Welsh national team and produced a heroic display in the 2-1 victory over Austria last month.
Wales boss Rob Page says Gareth Bale will ‘definitely’ continue playing football past this summer should they reach their first World Cup tournament in 64 years
There have been questions over his future with his Real Madrid contract set to expire
Wales will host the winners of Scotland’s clash with Ukraine in the play-off final to make the tournament in Qatar this November.
Page has told the Athletic: ‘If we get to the World Cup in November, then he will definitely be playing football. The World Cup is his dream, the one thing missing from his CV.
‘Where he’ll play, I’m not sure. Whether he comes home, stays in Spain, fancies another challenge, I really don’t know.’
Bale has starred in two European Championships for his country, making the semi-finals in 2016 and the Round of 16 last year.
Despite his limited time at Madrid he still plays a starring role for the Welsh national side
However, he has yet to play in a World Cup with the country failing to make it out of the World Cup qualifiers during his time in the game.
Should Wales qualify for Qatar it would mark a tremendous achievement, seeing that they have not qualified for the World Cup since the 1958 tournament in Sweden.
Despite scoring 106 goals in 258 appearances, Bale’s time at Real Madrid has been tumultuous.
He has faced heavy criticism from the Spanish media after excelling for his country while playing a small role for Carlo Ancelotti’s side at club level.
Spanish paper Marca launched a scathing attack on the forward last month, labelling him a ‘parasite’ and accusing him of ‘sucking’ the club’s money despite helping them to win 14 trophies during his nine years at the club.
Page also slammed comments in the Spanish press that labelled his star as a ‘parasite’
Writing on his social media channels, Bale described the article as ‘slanderous, derogatory and speculative’.
In regards to the comments by the Spanish publication, Page said: ‘I’m absolutely appalled by it. I know Gareth well now and a lot of people don’t see what he does off the pitch, the donations he made to the NHS recently, to a hospital in Cardiff — a considerable amount of money.
‘He doesn’t get credit for that because he doesn’t shout about it and people don’t hear about it. He keeps it to himself. That parasite comment made my blood boil. I don’t like that. That’s not the Gareth Bale who is the captain of our country, who represents us. And he never will be that.’
Bale has also struggled to win over Real Madrid’s fans who loudly booed him as he made his first competitive appearance at the Santiago Bernabeu in more than two years, when he came off the bench in the 2-0 win over Getafe at the weekend.
Bale has rarely featured for Madrid this season and was booed against Getafe at the weekend
Sportsmail previously reported that Bale will make a decision on his long-term future after Wales’ World Cup decider this summer.
His agent Jonathan Barnett told Sportsmail that there is a ‘lot of interest’.
He said: ‘We have had a lot of interest in him but we have not done anything. After June we will discuss what we want to do.
‘I have been saying for years he is one of Britain’s greatest, most successful sports stars. If he hasn’t had the credit he deserves, it’s because he doesn’t speak much publicly. He is a quiet lad but I don’t understand why he hasn’t been treated better.’