The Wales star is back in Real Madrid’s colours for the first time in more than a year following his loan at Tottenham

Gareth Bale will wear the No.50 shirt after being named in Real Madrid’s starting line-up for their pre-season encounter with AC Milan in Klagenfurt, Austria.

It marks the Wales international’s first performance for Los Blancos since he departed on loan to Tottenham last October. Indeed, the last time he took to the field in the club’s colours was a Primera Division match against Real Mallorca in June 2020.

Bale, who signed for Madrid in 2013, has previously played 251 matches for the club, scoring 105 goals, and was a key figure in four Champions League title triumphs.

Bale’s future

Bale has cut a controversial figure at the Bernabeu in recent seasons, with a belief locally that he has failed to justify his wages on the field, prioritising other aspects of his life ahead of his footballing career.

This has led to speculation that he could depart the club, particularly when it was reported that he had not been given a squad number for the new season. Instead, Marco Asensio had claimed his favourite shirt No.11.

There had even been speculation he might retire, though that was swiftly and emphatically rebuked by the Bale camp.

Nevertheless, with wages reported to be in the region of €30 million per year, and the transfer market in a state of depression following the Covid-19 pandemic, it appears unlikely that any club will be willing to take on Bale due to the finances involved and the player’s recent patchy history with injuries.

The likelihood is, then, that the Wales star will remain in Madrid until 2022, at which point his contract will expire and he will become a free agent.

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