Gareth Bale says his future in football does not hinge on Wales’ crucial World Cup play-off final against Ukraine.
The 32-year-old is currently a free agent having been released by Real Madrid after nine seasons in the Spanish capital. Should Wales qualify for the World Cup later this year, it is thought the captain will sign a short-term contract with a new team – potentially hometown club Cardiff City – in a bid to keep himself at peak fitness for the global showpiece in Qatar.
However, should Wales fail to beat Ukraine at Cardiff City Stadium, Bale could retire from the game altogether. But speaking ahead of what will be his 103rd cap for his country, Bale said his sole focus is on firing Wales to their first World Cup since 1958.
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“Not necessarily no,” responded Bale when asked if his future hinges on Wales v Ukraine. “Like I’ve said before, I’m not concentrating on what lies ahead in the future. We have a massive game tomorrow that all my focus is on. I really don’t need to think or worry about anything else. I have no other worries.”
Bale is set to hold further talks with his agent Jonathan Barnett in the near future, and when asked if he has offers on the table at present, Bale jokingly responded: “I’ve got loads!”
The attacker was due to face the media at Cardiff City Stadium ahead of the game, however, he held is press conference via a Zoom link from Wales’ Vale Resort training base. Head coach Rob Page revealed Bale has been on a personal plan in the build-up to the clash with the Ukrainians in a bid to ensure he can fire on all cylinders in the play-off final.
And Bale himself was quick to allay concerns over his fitness having played just 20 minutes of football since scoring twice in Wales’ 2-1 win over Austria in March. “After training I have my routines,” he explained. “When we have the press conference at the Vale, it’s convenient. I can do my stuff and get ready for the game.
“Having to take two hours out of my day to get to the stadium didn’t quite work. So we did it this way. Apologies but unfortunately the game comes first!”
Wales v Ukraine gets under way at 5pm on Sunday.