Gareth Bale could be about to retire from football – with a view to becoming a professional golfer instead.
According to a report in Spain, the Welsh superstar, 31, is planning to hang up his boots after this summer’s European Championships and dedicate himself full-time to golf.
The Real Madrid forward – at one time, the world’s most expensive footballer – spent last season on loan at former club Tottenham Hotspur after falling out of favour at the Spanish giants.
However, he struggled for starts under former manager Jose Mourinho and, with the Londoners yet to appoint a successor to the Portuguese, Bale’s future has been cast into fresh doubt.
Moves to Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool have been rumoured but, according to Spanish outlet ABC Deportes, the six-time Welsh Footballer of the Year could be set to turn his back on the game altogether.
The report states that Bale will quit the game after leading his country at this summer’s COVID-delayed Euros after becoming “disconnected” from football. It adds: “His desire is to dedicate himself to playing golf and even to compete professionally.”
Bale has never made any secret of his love for golf. The three-handicapper was nicknamed ‘The Golfer’ by teammates at Real Madrid and had a replica of the 17th hole at TPC at Sawgrass built in his back garden in Wales.
The Spanish media has regularly blamed golf for Bale’s various injury problems during his time with Real.
Bale would not be the first footballer to give up the ‘Beautiful Game’ in favour of golf.
Former West Ham United, Liverpool and England defender Julian Dicks turned professional shortly after retiring from football in his early thirties. A knee injury, however, curtailed his progress.