Bale to ‘ponder’ retirement if Wales fail to reach World Cup finals – report

According to reports, Real Madrid star Gareth Bale will “ponder” retirement if Wales fail to reach this year’s World Cup finals in Qatar.

Wales finished second in their World Cup qualifying group behind Belgium. This booked them a place in the play-offs.

These games take place in March and Rob Page’s side host Austria in the semi-final stage.

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If they win that tie, they will then face Scotland or Ukraine. The winner of that last tie will seal themselves a spot at this year’s World Cup finals in Qatar.

Bale will likely be a key player for Wales in these games. He has only started three times for Real Madrid this season and he is out of contract in the summer.

David Ornstein of The Athletic has revealed that Bale will consider retirement if Wales do not make it to the 2022 World Cup finals:

“Bale signed a lucrative new deal with Real Madrid in late 2016 that tied him down until the summer of 2022. This means the 32-year-old is now into his final six months. There are no talks about extending and therefore the end of Bale’s nine-year spell at the Bernabeu is drawing near.

“A January departure is not expected. So the Welshman will wait to become a free agent before taking his next step. That next step, I’m told, will be determined by the outcome of his country’s bid to reach the World Cup in Qatar.

“If Wales safely navigate the qualification play-offs and Bale wants to feature in the finals, he will look to join a club — unlikely to be one at the very top level — in order to prepare himself for the December tournament.

“If they do not get there, the attacker will ponder whether to continue playing or bring his career to a close.

“He has won two La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns since moving to Spain from Tottenham in 2013. He has earned enough to ensure that his decision does not need to be motivated by financial concerns.”

Speaking in November, Theo Walcott likened Southampton full-back Tino Livramento to Bale:

“You know what, he actually reminds me a little bit of Gareth (Bale) coming through as a full-back.

“I just feel like his presence, the way he drives, his pace and power. There’s no surprises, you know what he’s going to do. But he is so strong with the ball and very clever, technically he’s fantastic.

“He’s got great people around him to work with him. The great thing about Southampton is he’s got so many youth players around him.”

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