Gareth Bale’s tenure as a Real Madrid player is slowly reaching its bitter end. After being kept on the bench for the vast majority of the last few months under Zinedine Zidane, the Welsh winger craves for regular football. The Frenchman doesn’t want him, but unfortunately neither do many European giants due to his unrealistic demands.
Not only is Bale’s injury-record a major cause for concern, but his huge wage demands have defused attention from many sides. A return to the Premier League looks unlikely after Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur both reportedly refused his demands, while not many others outside England can afford him.
As a result, the cash-rich Chinese Super League sides Beijing Guoan and Jiangsu Suning are prepared to offer him an unbelievable salary to sign him. In recent years, China’s emerged a deadly poacher for many European players with their irresistible offers and having reached his thirties, the Welshman could be thinking a wealthy retirement plan.
However, for someone wanting to reaffirm his reputation as among Europe’s best, moving into the shadows at China wouldn’t help his case at all. In fact, even though it’ll bring greater financial rewards, it’d earn him an unfavourable reputation for choosing money over redeeming his past failures.
Lower quality of competition
Many regarded La Liga to be relatively easy for Gareth Bale after he started out with Real Madrid and his promising record in Spain proves them right. In 155 appearances in La Liga, he’s netted 78 times and assisted 44 goals. Even though the Welsh winger was forced out with injuries or benched numerously, he’s still managed to spin ring around Spanish opposition during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.
While La Liga probably isn’t as competitive as the Premier League, but in comparison to the Chinese Super League, it feels like playing against the very best. The CSL has earned his reputation as a wealthy league, but the quality of competition is very low. For example, Espanyol striker Wu Lei scored 27 goals in 30 games for Shanghai SIPG last season in China, but only netted 3 times in 16 La Liga appearances!
The defensive work from the weak Chinese defenders is horrendous and it won’t even feel like a heated competition for Bale. While he’ll probably score and assist regularly with relative ease, for a player his quality and with a lot of steam to blow off, playing in the CSL will be a waste of his talents. Rather than scoring against the best in Europe, netting against Chinese minnows could follow an embarrassing fall from grace.
From UCL Champion to ACL?
It doesn’t feel that long ago when Bale hit that thunderous back-volley to win Real Madrid their third consecutive UEFA Champions League title in Kyiv. Now he’s reportedly pondering on moving down to a place where he’d have to be content with playing in the Asian version of the UEFA Champions League.
With all due respect to the AFC Champions League, it’s clearly not as prestigious nor as much of a daunting obstacle which the UCL has been over the years. The oppositions are relatively quite weaker and the environment isn’t nearly close to what the legendary Champions League nights bring. Of course, it’d be easier for Bale to put more medals in his cabinet by dominating the ACL, but for an experienced heavy-hitter like him, playing with boys shouldn’t be the benchmark.
Following the Zlatan path?
While Gareth Bale won’t be the only European star to be joining the Chinese Super League recently, he’d definitely be the biggest. With a lot of firepowers left in his arsenal, he could end up ruling China like Zlatan Ibrahimovic has done in Major League Soccer.
After scoring goals for fun, many have pondered whether the Swedish legend made a mistake in going to America with a lot of goals still left in him. Considerably, Bale’s still much younger, fitter and filled with potential for bigger things. It’d probably show poor ambition if he decides to pack his bag and head for China now.
Maybe an unrealistic golfing career later lingers on his mind, but the Welsh star must think with a clear head. Leaving to China means moving away from the spotlight, as not many fans will witness him and he could soon become a forgotten star, the exact thing he’s fighting against from happening.