Gareth Bale put the football world on high-alert after his starring performance for Real Madrid in last month’s Champions League final. His second half brace against Liverpool, including a sumptuous overhead kick to give Real the lead was followed by a claim that he would be considering his future if he wasn’t a part of Los Blancos’ plans as a regular starter. That instantly piqued Manchester United’s interest, but the recent hiring of Julen Lopetegui changed things further, as it was the former Spain coach’s predecessor Zinedine Zidane that seemed to be the source of Bale’s frustration.
The situation had been expected to subside with Real’s new manager in place, a manager with presumably different ideas about how the Welshman should be used. Yet Jonathan Barnett, Bale’s agent has poured further fuel on the fire by suggesting that there have been no developments since his client’s comments after the defeat of Liverpool.
“I think we have to have a chat with Real Madrid and see where we’re going,” said Barnett in quotes carried by the Manchester Evening News. “He wants a better year than he had last year. He wants to play more, and that’s paramount to him. I think he’s one of the top three or four players on earth. For somebody like him, he has to play. It’s not about money. He wants to win the Ballon d’Or and I think he can.”
“I think that goal elevated an interest in him. But we already knew how good he is. He doesn’t need to prove how good he is. It was a magnificent goal and the timing was great too. He loves his life in Spain. He has three children, and he’s very happy there. But we have to see. He has to play football.”
It’s certainly a glimmer of hope for United fans that would like to see the 28-year old join the club. If Bale’s primary ambition is to win the Ballon d’Or, then his chances to do so will surely remain limited whilst he remains in the same side as Cristiano Ronaldo. His presence could force the player’s hand, and could also see Bale finally step out of the Portuguese’s shadow.