Gareth Bale is considering ending his playing career this summer if Wales fail to qualify for this year’s World Cup, but could consider joining a Championship club if he helps his country make the tournament in Qatar.
Wales face a play-off against Austria in Cardiff in March and, if they win, they will then face a showdown against either Scotland or Ukraine for a place in the finals.
Wales have not qualified for the World Cup since 1958 and Bale is keen to represent his country at the tournament before the end of his career.
But if Wales fail at the play-off stage, retirement could be on the cards for Bale, whose Real Madrid contract expires at the end of the season.
However, if Wales do reach their first World Cup in 64 years, Bale could consider signing a short-term deal with a Premier League or Championship side to ensure he is ready for the tournament.
It is believed Bale, who turns 33 in July, could consider joining Cardiff or Swansea.
Bale joined Real from Tottenham for a then world-record fee in 2013 and has gone on to win four Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles in the Spanish capital.
However, he has been out of favour at the Bernabeu in recent seasons and spent the 2020/21 campaign back on loan at Spurs.
Under Carlo Ancelotti this season, Bale has made just three appearances for Real.
“This is an interesting story about Gareth Bale because obviously he is out of contract in the summer. He has always maintained he will stay at Real Madrid until the end of his deal, even though he may not be playing regularly.