Gareth Bale move to Cardiff would ‘tick all the boxes’ – Wales boss Robert Page

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Gareth Bale joining hometown club Cardiff “makes sense” and “ticks all the boxes”, according to his Wales manager Robert Page.

Bale’s nine-year stay at Real Madrid will come to an end after the Spanish club’s Champions League final date with Liverpool on May 28.

Speculation persists that the 32-year-old may retire should Wales fail to win their World Cup play-off final against Scotland or Ukraine on June 5.

Wales v Austria – FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier – Semi Final – Cardiff City Stadium
Gareth Bale celebrates at the Cardiff City Stadium in March after his two-goal show sent Wales into a World Cup play-off final (Nick Potts/PA)

Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett hinted as much this week by telling WalesOnline that the decision would be down to “a personal choice and not about money”.

Addressing Cardiff rumours that refuse to go away, Page – a former Bluebirds player himself – said of a possible homecoming: “It ticks all the boxes. Ultimately, it’s Gareth’s decision and Cardiff City’s.

“And I think he’s right to say ‘Let’s throw full focus on to the fifth’. Let’s get there first and have that discussion.

Cardiff City v Coventry City – Sky Bet Championship – Cardiff City Stadium
Gareth Bale has been linked with a move to his hometown club Cardiff (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“Ultimately, let’s see what happens on the fifth and I’ll probably be the first one after the game to ask the question

“I wouldn’t want him to retire. The door is always open, for what he does in the changing room as well.

“I’d want him to carry on as long as he possibly can because it’s the influence he has in that changing room as well.”

Wales v Denmark – UEFA Euro 2020 – Round of 16 – Johan Cruijff ArenA
Wales manager Robert Page says a Cardiff move for Gareth Bale “makes sense” (PA)

He has been troubled by a back problem that Real manager Carlo Ancelotti said had left him unable to move, and was absent from the club’s last five matchday squads.

But, on Thursday, Bale was named in a 27-man squad for Wales’ busy June itinerary, which also includes four Nations League games, and by Ancelotti for Real’s final LaLiga game of the season at home to Real Betis.

Wales’ opening Nations League game is away to Poland on June 1, although Bale is unlikely to be risked for that pre-World Cup play-off fixture in Wroclaw.

“We will keep in touch with him,” Page said over suggestions that Bale might not be involved in Real’s Champions League final squad.

“It’s common sense that if he is not going to feature at all, and Real Madrid are happy with releasing him, then of course we would like him on camp.

“They don’t have to. We don’t have the players (officially) until the 30th, so we can’t pull rank on that.

“We just have to go with what they suggest. Rightly so because he’s employed by the club, but if there’s an opportunity to get players in earlier then we would like that.”

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