Gareth Bale could only leave Real Madrid for another “giant club”, according to his former boss Chris Coleman.
Speculation is rife that Bale’s time at the Bernabeu could be drawing to a close, with Real manager Zinedine Zidane relying less heavily upon him in recent weeks – although he did select him for Wednesday night’s dramatic Champions League quarter-final clash with Juventus.
However, Coleman, who worked with the 28-year-old during his time in charge of Wales, insists the former Southampton and Tottenham player remains happy in Madrid.
Asked he he still has a future in Spain, Sunderland boss Coleman told a press conference: “How long has he been there? Five years, has he?
“After his first year when I used to do the Welsh press conferences, they always used to ask, ‘The Spanish press are not very happy with him, has he got a future there?’. I think he’s won three Champions Leagues there.
“All right, he’s done a good stint there, but the last time I spoke to him, he was very happy in Madrid, his family is settled there.
“But he is who he is, Real Madrid are who they are and there are comings and goings all the time. If you work so hard to get to a stage in your career where you are seen as one of the better players and you are playing for one of the biggest clubs, that’s not somewhere where you want to leave, I would imagine.
“Where does he go from there that’s bigger? There’s nowhere bigger, so if he does leave Madrid, where’s he going to go? It’s going to have to be another giant club.
“Is it back here? Probably, maybe if he does move, if it’s on the cards. But the last conversations I had with him, he was happy there. He liked the life in Madrid, loved the club.
“But I don’t know, to be honest.”
Manchester United have been linked repeatedly with a summer move for Bale, who cost Real £87million when he joined them in September 2013.
However, Zidane is adamant the forward, who has four years remaining on his current deal, will remain at the Bernabeu next season despite enduring an injury-hit 2017-18 campaign.