There is no chance that 31-year-old Gareth Bale will decide to hand up his boots once and for all after Euro 2020.
A few reports have surfaced questioning whether Bale, after a tumultuous, injury-riddled few years, will retire prematurely.
The answer is no.
I haven’t spoken to any sources close to the player or his agent. Nor has any member of his close cohort returned my calls (no surprise, there). But rest assured, Bale is not calling it quits on his illustrious career quite yet.
While he has nothing to prove to doubters and naysayers, Bale still has way too much to contribute before stepping away permanently. He’ll want to prove to himself that he can still lift a team to a major honour or two.
He’ll want to leave football on a high note, after leading his team (hopefully Tottenham) to a glorious triumph. Unless Wales wins Euro 2020, a more unlikely outcome than Pep Guardiola deciding to coach a team in the Championship, Bale won’t have climactic moment to emphatically end his career on.
Bale is not the type of character to go out on a whimper. His storied career has seen him lift the Champions League crown four times — three of which in consecutive seasons. He has won eight major honours and was integral in all of those glorious successes.
The Welshman has winning pedigree in his blood and will do everything in his power to enjoy the sweet taste of glory at least one more time before riding off into the sunset.
After the Leicester match, Bale was candid over his future plans as he spoke to Sky Sports
"“It’ll just have to be… it will have to happen after the Euros,” he said.“I know what I’m doing, but it’ll just cause chaos if I say anything.“All I’m thinking about now is finishing this season off strong and we meet up straight away for the Euros,” he added.“I’m not thinking about anything else other than Wales.”"
He knows what he’s doing and so too should everyone else. It’s his character to want more, to win more. Even a player of his grandiose stature is faced with adversity, which he’s experienced in boat loads in the last few years.
Some people even suggest he wants to devote more time to pursuing golf, another of his passions. I’m not undercutting or undervaluing his love for golf, but there is no finite timeline to a game you can play well into old age.
Playing football at the highest level isn’t nearly as forgiving, with time often one’s cruelest adversary. Bale only has a few solid years left atop the footballing world. Expect him to make the most of them.
Even a man of Bale’s superstar stature has a need for redemption.
So many people have counted him out since the onset of his deep-seated malaise at Real Madrid. His first year at Spurs showed signs of promise, and, prior to retirement, he’ll want to build on that to emphatically punctuate the end to what has been one of the most storied careers of any Brit to play the game.