GARETH BALE will play club football beyond Real Madrid if Wales qualify for the World Cup.
But Robert Page’s future as boss of the Dragons remains in doubt.
Bale, who was named on the bench for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea, will leave the Bernabeu when his contract expires this summer.
The Wales captain is desperate to lead his country to a first World Cup since 1958 and he inspired a 2-1 triumph with a sensational double over Austria to book a play-off final spot in June against Scotland or Ukraine.
But Page has confirmed Bale, 32, will play on with the prospect of facing England, Iran and the USA if the Dragons reach the Qatar finals.
Page said: “If we get to the World Cup in November, then he will definitely be playing football.
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“The World Cup is his dream, the one thing missing from his CV. Where he’ll play, I’m not sure. Whether he comes home, stays in Spain, fancies another challenge, I really don’t know.”
Bale has received fierce criticism from the Spanish media after being branded a “parasite”.
The four-time Champions League winner was also booed by the Real crowd when he appeared as a substitute in Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Getafe.
Casemiro defended Bale and national boss Page has also stuck up for his talisman.
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Page told The Athletic: “I’m absolutely appalled by it.
“I know Gareth well now and a lot of people don’t see what he does off the pitch, the donations he made to the NHS recently, to a hospital in Cardiff — a considerable amount of money.
“He doesn’t get credit for that because he doesn’t shout about it and people don’t hear about it. He keeps it to himself.
“That parasite comment made my blood boil. I don’t like that. That’s not the Gareth Bale who is the captain of our country, who represents us. And he never will be that.”
Page’s own future is in limbo as the Football Association of Wales wait for the outcome of manager Ryan Giggs’ domestic violence trial in August.
The 41-cap defender has been in caretaker charge for 21 matches and has lost just four of those since Giggs was arrested in November 2020.
Giggs remains under contract with the FAW until the end of Wales’ World Cup campaign but ex-Wales striker John Hartson last month said Page should be given the Wales job full-time if they qualify for the World Cup – regardless of the trial in Manchester.
Page is aware that the FAW are in a legal bind until Giggs’ court case is resolved.
But he said: “It’s the uncertainty of football, unfortunately.
“It’s out of my control — if we’d not beaten Austria, the day after I’d have been unemployed. If we don’t win this game in June, my contract is up.
“It’s difficult for the Association because of Ryan’s case. All I can do is control what I can control. At this moment I’ve a group of lads who enjoy coming on camp, who enjoy playing for me.
“I’m having the time of my life and we’re winning games of football. What the powers that be at the FAW decide to do with that is up to them.”
When asked how Giggs was about Page stepping up to replace him and lead Wales to Euro 2020, the ex-Watford and Sheffield United centre-back replied: “Ryan was fully supportive, absolutely.
“It was the build-up to the Euros and there had to be a time when there was a cut-off, for Ryan’s sake, for the players, the public. We had a major tournament and we all needed to know what’s going on.
“On May 1 there was a decision made that I was the manager for the Euros and then the World Cup qualifiers.
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“So I knew I’d be in charge until the end of those unless we got to these play-offs, which we did.
“So it then rolled on until March and now until the next game. It’s month by month.”
By: Philip Cadden
Title: Gareth Bale WILL make free transfer to another club after Real Madrid if Wales qualify for World Cup, says boss Page
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/18247364/gareth-bale-wales-world-cup-real-madrid-transfer/
Published Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2022 21:30:00 +0000