Former Cardiff City midfielder Joe Ledley has delivered a crushing blow to Cardiff City fans wanting Gareth Bale to return to his home nation, saying he thinks the Real Madrid player will see out his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.
According to the bookies, the Bluebirds are one of the favourites to land the 31-year-old after experiencing a very mixed time in Spain and fell out of favour under Zinedine Zidane before the Frenchman’s departure this summer.
Bale’s future in the capital has been uncertain for some time and after exiting the European Championships with Wales on Saturday, he will now be focusing on his domestic career and calculating his next move.
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He still has one more year left on his contract but barring a major turnaround in his fortunes at Madrid, he’s unlikely to stay beyond the summer of 2022. Depending on who comes in to replace Zidane, Bale could even get his move in the next few months after spending last season on loan at Tottenham Hotspur, scoring 11 goals in 20 Premier League appearances.
Many English top-flight sides are likely to be interested in the 31-year-old with Cardiff City also linked, but their former midfielder Joe Ledley believes he will stay in Spain for another year.
In an interview with the BBC, Ledley said: “He’s got another year at Madrid, I’d be surprised if he just terminates the (Real Madrid) contract.
“Like you said, I’d love to see him at Cardiff, he would be on my door step as well.
“To have a player like Gareth for them (Cardiff), it would be an unbelievable signing but I can’t see it happening – I think Gareth will just see this contract out at Real Madrid.
“And for me, he’s still got that ability to be in that team if you look at how (Eden) Hazard’s done last season, he’s been very disappointing.
“I think Gareth can come on, could retain his starting place at Madrid so it’s down to Gareth to see what he wants to do and with a new manager coming in, it’s a fresh start for him.”
Although Bale would probably jump at the chance to join a Welsh side like Cardiff City or Swansea City later in his playing days, Bale is only 31 and still has a lot of offer after performing reasonably well at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last season.
Put it this way: no one should be betting more than a couple of quid on this move. With profit and sustainability rules currently in play, the EFL probably wouldn’t appreciate the Bluebirds bringing in a player who would command such high wages.
So although it’s definitely a possibility we’ll see Bale in a Cardiff City shirt at some point, don’t expect to see that sight for at least another few years. The 31-year-old will want to keep making headlines whether he’s in Spain or England – and it will be interesting to see who comes in at Real Madrid and how he uses the Welshman – if he uses him at all.
But Joe Ledley is probably right on this one, even if it does turn out to be his final year in the Spanish capital.