Gareth Bale has been advised to end his Real Madrid troubles and return to Tottenham – if he still has the “passion” to play.
The 31-year-old’s future in the Spanish capital had looked uncertain after making just two appearances since the season resumed last month.
His behaviour while on the bench has also been under scrutiny after he was seen on camera with his face mask over his eyes against Deportivo Alaves. There, he simulated holding a pair of binoculars in front of his face while he watched Madrid’s meeting with Granada on Monday.
Bale has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell in the Spanish capital. But pundit Danny Murphy reckons the time is right to part ways and seek a move elsewhere.
He has also told Bale he should look no further than former club, Tottenham.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Murphy said of Bale: “To make a top footballer these days, the love and passion for it must be from within you from a young age to want to be a footballer.
“Now Gareth might be an exception to that… but maybe he’s lost that passion for it.
“Maybe the lifestyle, the family contentment; he loves his golf, the climate and the finances are good.
“So maybe he’s not like everybody else… but playing football is something you can’t do forever.
“He’s damn good at it. People like watching him play. He’s a wonderful footballer and he’s done so much in the game but he’s still only 31.
“I’d be saying to him, ‘go play mate. Just enjoy it. Go somewhere you enjoy it’.
“We can talk to Madrid and they might have to pay you half to get you gone but they’ll do that anyway because they’re saving half. There has to be a way out.
“I think the one place for Gareth is Tottenham. He’s loved there already and he’s got the fans on board.
“Could he find a way of going back there? That for me would be great for Tottenham.
“Even if it’s for two or three years, go back to where you made yourself, enjoy yourself and help Tottenham get back to being competitive.”
Barnett on Bale future
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett has, however, recently trotted out a similar response to speculation he could leave.
Barnett has always insisted that Bale remains committed to Real with his contract set to run until 2022. And he has done the same again, albeit with a more defiant tone.
“Gareth’s fine. He’s got two years left on his contract. He likes living in Madrid and he’s going nowhere,” Barnett told the BBC. “He is still as good as anyone else in the team.
“Of course, there’s been interest but there’s hardly a club in the world which can afford him. It’s a great loss that he’s not in the Real Madrid team at the moment but he’ll not leave.
“Gareth is not looking to outlast [coach Zinedine] Zidane. Zidane has been very successful. There’s no hatred. Zidane just does not want to play him. Gareth trains every day and he trains well.”