PETE JENSON: Gareth Bale WILL return this week for his final chapter at Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti is counting on their old relationship to motivate him to score… goals are desperately needed and the LaLiga giants will now rely on their outcasts
- Carlo Ancelotti knows he won’t be able to buy many players on his return to Real Madrid
- The cramped Spanish giants must trim a massively bloated senior squad
- Considering Gareth Bale’s massive £15m annual salary, he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere
- Ancelotti is counting on Bale to come back and score the necessary goals
Gareth Bale returned to training at Real Madrid on Friday, kicking off the final chapter of his career in Spain.
Carlo Ancelotti hopes his last season is as good as his first, when Bale under his guidance scored the winner in the Spanish Cup final and shone in the club’s tenth European Cup.
Both player and coach know this is a lot to ask, but as Real Madrid haven’t spent any money this summer, the club will have to pack up some old toys for Christmas and hope the kids don’t notice – Bale, Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos are announced as the ‘new’ signings for this season.
Carlo Ancelotti has arrived at Real Madrid and is counting on Gareth Bale to be motivated enough to regain his scoring form in the famous white shirt
The pair had a strong relationship during Ancelotti’s last tenure and Bale performed well
They are all back from loans in North London. There are still opportunities for Ceballos to find another club before the new season starts as Madrid have yet to cut their bloated squad, but Bale’s net annual salary of £15million will prevent such a deal for him.
He will be there from day one for Ancelotti to use. The Italian coach, a master at getting the best out of older players, immediately indicated that he was up for the challenge by sharing what Bale has to offer.
“He hasn’t played much in the Premier League,” he said at the first press conference. “But he has scored a lot of goals. If he is motivated, I have no doubt that he can have a great season.”
Ancelotti noted that Bale went behind the net 16 times for Tottenham last season
Ancelotti needs him motivated. Bale scored 16 goals for Tottenham in all competitions last season, just three fewer than Eden Hazard, Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius and Marco Asensio combined.
Ancelotti has already identified goals as Madrid’s potential problem in the new season.
“Karim Benzema will have to score 50 goals instead of 30,” he joked when asked how he would rectify Real Madrid’s attacking shortcomings in that first press conference.
Bale could even start up front in a three with Benzema and Hazard if Ancelotti becomes ‘full veteran’. He may be without Asensio when the season starts with the Real Madrid forward on Olympic duty, so Bale’s reliance will start from the first week of the season.
There should be talks about his role, but Bale has a much better relationship with Ancelotti than with Zinedine Zidane, so those conversations should be more comfortable than the short and cold conversations with the last manager.
Bale’s comments to Sky in May that he had decided what to do after his loan to Spurs came to an end are still not entirely gone.
But for now it seems that mysterious statement: ‘It will happen after the European Championship. I know what I’m doing, but it will only cause chaos if I say something,” doesn’t mean he’s retiring, or at least not giving up his last year’s salary in Madrid.
Bale’s previous relationship with Zinedine Zidane was nonexistent, but things are looking good
And despite stories suggesting Madrid could pay off his senior year as he is now one of four ‘foreign’ players after Brexit and they can only sign three, it looks like the club will keep him.
They have no money for new signings, let alone 15 million for a severance package for Bale. There is a greater chance that Vinicius, Rodrygo or Militao will eventually acquire Spanish nationality.
Bale’s longer term future is definitely away from Madrid, and most likely away from football.
He linked his name to the Welsh Open that started on Thursday. The ‘Cazoo Open supported by Gareth Bale’ will not be the last time he joins the event and the links to the sport for which he has never hidden his passion are only likely to intensify.
Ancelotti, a man who also never hid his ability to switch off football to recharge, will hope there is one more season of service in Bale’s shoes before the only club he cares about is the one that puts him on the green gets . Madrid needs his goals.