Updated: May 21, 2019
Let me start by saying that I am a fan of this man. I followed him through his days at Tottenham and watched him closely at Real Madrid. There is no doubt in my mind that this man is/was a superstar. Imagine however playing alongside likely the greatest footballer in the history of the game in C. Ronaldo. Hard, of course, to match statistics or gain the same type of attention and love from the fan base as Ronaldo is/was able to command. That being said, Real Madrid absolutely got their money's worth.
The display he put on in the Champions League Final versus Liverpool alone can be viewed as Bale upstaging the great Cristiano. Don't take my word for it...just look at the film in this post (above). Two goals (one staggeringly impressive) after having not even started when he had scored a few important goals leading up to the final. It was apparent that he was out-of-favor with Zidane but Zidane knew what was best for the club and had to bring him on. Looking back it can be viewed as a managerial stroke of genius. Zidane, when questioned why Bale did not start kept guarded. Today it is an alltogther different story with Zidane no longer holding back with his words and flat out saying that Bale did not deserve to start the final match this past weekend, which would have been an opportunity for him to say his goodbyes. Take a read of this ESPN FC Article: http://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer-transfers/story/3857622/zidane-left-bale-on-bench-because-of-attitude that truly says it all. There is no doubt that its time for Bale to leave Real Madrid.
The next question than becomes; where does he go? The options may be limited due to contractual and business situations that are frankly above my pay-grade, but the natural next step in this man's career seems destined to be back to the Premiership. Of course Manchester United needs him the most but who knows if they would even take him. United may be looking to rebuild with younger talent rather than bring in a star on the downside of his career. Tottenham may be another destination as he can go back to the club where he started to achieve greatness to round out his career by coming full-circle. But with whispers of Pochettino getting set to leave (whispers are to Juventus) will that create reluctance on the part of Bale's handlers? Manchester City does not feel like a club that needs or wants him and frankly Liverpool does not seem like a likely destination either. Many might say that he is on the downside of a great career by any estimation, so any major club that picks him up will likely be taking a chance on him considering his age (29 as of this writing) and his history of injuries.
That said, I watched (and still watch) in horror as Bale was/is jeered by his own fans at Madrid...that's right...the same fans that he has scored countless important goals for. Take a look below at a few of the many important goals Bale has scored:
It would surprise me if at this point Bale stayed with Madrid next season...whether it be because he leaves or because he is asked to leave....in one way or another it is time for new challenges and frankly it is time for him to show the Madrid fans what they jeered away from their club.
When one looks at his statistics they do not blow you away in terms of goal production, but Bale has been known and has followed through on scoring the most important of goals.:
Keep in mind however he played alongside Ronaldo all that time. Let's be honest there are only so many goals to go around. Some questions will linger about this man's next career step:
Can he remain injury free and last an entire season?
Can he score 20 goals wherever he lands?
Is he on the downside of his career?
What is an ideal landing spot for Bale?
Only time will tell...but one thing is for certain...it's time for him to leave Real Madrid!