MADRID – Gareth Bale will hold talks with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez as early as next week as he is eager to make a decision on his future at the club.
Bale inspired Real to a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in the Champions League final on Saturday by coming off the bench to score twice, the first a stunning bicycle kick that will go down as one of the tournament’s greatest ever goals.
But the 28-year-old said after the match he will consider his options this summer because of a lack of playing time under coach Zinedine Zidane.
Sources close to the player told AFP that Bale and his agent want to sit down with Perez as soon as the celebrations in Madrid are over, and that Zidane’s selection decisions will be top of the agenda.
Bale has not given up hope of mending his relationship with Zidane and his first choice is still to stay at Real, but only if he is offered firm assurances regarding a more prominent role next season.
Zidane started Bale in only one of Real’s seven Champions League knockout games, and the pair were barely even on speaking terms during a particularly tense period in April.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham have all been credited with an interest, although a return to north London is understood to be unlikely due to the expected finances involved.
“I need to be playing week-in, week-out and that hasn’t happened this season for one reason or another,” Bale told BT Sport.
“I have to sit down in the summer and discuss my future with my agent, and take it from there.”
Bale, whose contract expires in 2022, is likely to be listened to by Perez, with whom he enjoys a good relationship.
But Zidane remains the president’s personal project and, after clinching a third consecutive European crown, his status has never been higher.
Ultimately, it will be the Frenchman’s opinion that carries most weight. “It’s complicated, but everyone looks at their own situation, I get it,” Zidane said.
“I try to do what’s best for the team and every once in a while it’s true, that he deserved to play more.
“Bale has made the difference. It’s normal to want more playing time, I understand.”
Bale only discovered he had been left out of Zidane’s starting line-up against Liverpool an hour-and-a-half before kickoff, despite believing his excellent form had earned him a place.
Training sessions during the week, and his inclusion in the strong side that played Villarreal the weekend before, had both led him to think he would be given the nod in Kiev.
Instead, he was the only outfield player that started against Villarreal not to start the final.
Bale missed the warm-up with the rest of Real’s substitutes, although suggestions this was due to his disappointment are wide of the mark.
When not in the starting line-up, Bale has his own specific warm-up routine, which he often completes indoors.