Gareth Bale considering retirement from football after 2021/22 season

Gareth Bale is set to call time on his illustrious career at the end of the season, but could extend it further if Wales qualify for the World Cup, according to reports.

The Wales star is said to only be focused on making sure that his country qualifies for the December 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and will retire if that target is not met.

Wales will have to play a play-off game against Austria, and beat either Scotland or Ukraine if they beat Austria to qualify for their first World Cup in 64 years.

Should Wales scale these hurdles, the 32-year-old could also move to the English Championship to play for Cardiff City or Swansea City in order to maintain match fitness for the tournament.

Bale has been at Real Madrid since 2013 and has won 13 titles including four Champions League titles, two LaLiga titles and one Copa Del Rey title which he scored the most famous goal of his career to seal for Los Blancos.

He has, however, been out of favour at the Spanish giants for the past two seasons and with his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu expiring in the summer, he has reportedly made his decision to bow out of the sport.

Bale could sign a short-term contract close to home, reports say

Sky Sports journalist Kaveh Solhekol made these claims on Friday.

“If Wales don’t qualify for the World Cup I think there is a very good chance that Bale will just retire from football when his contract runs out in the summer because he feels he’s achieved everything he set out to achieve in the game,” Solhekol said.

“If he’s not going to be able to play in the World Cup with Wales then he’ll retire.

Solhekol further claimed that Bale will seek a club close to home to play for in order to stay match fit for Wales, should they qualify.

“What I think he will then do is try to sign a short-term contract with a club back in the Premier League or the Championship.

“I actually think it is more likely that it could be a club in Wales in the Championship that he signs a short-term contract with,” said Solhekol.

The Athletic‘s David Ornstein made the same claims in his column.

“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,” Ornstein wrote.

Cardiff or Swansea are the touted clubs where Bale could be winding down his playing career. Both clubs will be keen to secure Bale’s services if financial terms can be agreed.

Solhekol: Bale has achieved everything he wanted in club game

“This is an interesting story about Gareth Bale because obviously he is out of contract in the summer,” Solhekol said.

“He has always maintained he will stay at Real Madrid until the end of his deal, even though he may not be playing regularly.

“I think if Wales qualify for the World Cup then he’s going to be without a club in the summer because his contract is set to expire at Real Madrid. So what I think he will then do is try to sign a short-term contract with a club back in the Premier League or the Championship.

“I actually think it is more likely that it could be a club in Wales in the Championship that he signs a short-term contract with.

“And if Wales don’t qualify for the World Cup I think there is a very good chance that Bale will just retire from football when his contract runs out in the summer because he feels he’s achieved everything he set out to achieve in the game and if he’s not going to be able to play in the World Cup with Wales then he’ll retire.”

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