Bale: I plan to return to Real Madrid

Gareth Bale plans to end his Tottenham stay at the end of the season and return to Real Madrid.

Wales captain Bale joined Spurs on loan in September and has scored 10 goals in 25 appearances in all competitions for Jose Mourinho’s side.

The 31-year-old’s Madrid contract runs until the end of the 2021/22 season.

Gareth Bale in action for Wales
Bale is preparing to face Belgium on Wednesday in Wales’ opening 2022 World Cup qualifier

“There’s no distraction for me,” Bale told a press conference ahead of Wales’ opening 2022 World Cup qualifier in Belgium.

“I think the main reason I came to Spurs this year was to play football first and foremost.

“Going into the Euros I wanted to be match-fit. The original plan was to do a season at Spurs and after the Euros still have a year left at Real Madrid.

“My plan is to go back, that’s as far I have planned.”

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Spurs head coach Mourinho said earlier this month that Bale’s future beyond the end of the season was a matter for Real.

Mourinho appeared to question Bale’s attitude after Tottenham’s FA Cup defeat by Everton in February, admitting he was surprised the player asked for a scan on an injury he described as “not obvious”.

But Bale then enjoyed a first-team resurgence, scoring six goals in six games before Spurs’ season took a turn for the worse with a derby defeat by Arsenal and a Europa League exit at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb.

Bale was benched for the 3-0 defeat in Croatia and the 2-0 Premier League win at Aston Villa on Sunday.

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On arriving fresh for international duty, Bale said: “Over the last few years this is probably the most match fitness I’ve had.

“I’m feeling fresh and ready to go. I always think when things aren’t going too well at a club, it’s nice to get away, especially mentally, get away from the club environment.

“Definitely it can be a benefit. We focus on these games for Wales, which are very important for us. We forget club life and concentrate on this.”

Wales open their World Cup qualifying campaign against Belgium in Leuven on Wednesday before hosting Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Bale has never played at a World Cup finals and admits he would swap one of his four Champions League winners’ medals to grace that stage at Qatar 2022.


Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes has the latest from the Wales squad as they train ahead of their opening World Cup qualifier against Belgium

“Obviously, realistically that’s not going to happen,” Bale said when that scenario was put to him. “But why not?

“I remember playing Ireland (in 2018 World Cup qualification). I was up in the stands and it was very frustrating, I felt like I was kicking every ball.

“It was obviously difficult after the game to have the loss and the dream of World Cup qualifying end.

“Hopefully we can draw on those experiences in a positive way and use that hurt to push us even harder this time around.

“It might be the last time my generation has the opportunity to qualify for a World Cup.

“We haven’t done that as a country for a long time and it’s something that the players dream of doing. We’ll give everything we can to do that.”

Wales’ Davies, Lockyer out of Belgium clash

Wales have suffered a double defensive blow after Bale’s Tottenham team-mate Ben Davies and Luton’s Tom Lockyer were ruled out of their country’s opening two World Cup qualifiers, as well as Saturday’s friendly with Mexico in Cardiff.

Davies has not recovered from a calf problem he suffered in Spurs’ 2-0 win over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday, while Lockyer has not played since sustaining an ankle injury against Cardiff last month.

Ben Davies
Bale’s Tottenham team-mate Ben Davies will miss Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Belgium on Wednesday

A Football Association of Wales statement said: “Ben Davies and Tom Lockyer have both withdrawn from the squad due to injury.”

Wales are also without Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey who was earlier ruled out of the opening two World Cup qualifiers with a thigh injury.

The 30-year-old has missed Juventus’ last two games and it was reported in Italy that he would not be fit until after the international break.

Watch Belgium vs Wales live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm on Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm.


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