Gareth Bale has refused to rule out retiring from football after this summer’s European Championships as he continues to avoid all discussions about his future. Bale, who is due to return to Real Madrid following his season-long loan at Tottenham Hotspur, was twice asked about reports in Spain that he is considering hanging up his boots in the coming weeks.
On both occasions, the 31-year-old chose against clarifying the situation, saying instead that he does not want to cause any “chaos” or “drama” ahead of the Euros. Bale, who will be the primary attacking threat in the Wales team as they look to repeat their heroics at Euro 2016, said: “Obviously there has been a lot of things written about whether I am doing this and doing that.
“For me, the main thing is I don’t want to say anything that is going to cause more chaos or more drama or cause a distraction. I just want to focus on this Euros. When the Euros finishes for us, then I will sit down and decide what I want to do.”
Pressed again on the issue of retirement, and the worries of Wales fans that this could be their last chance to see him play for the national team, he added: “Yeah, well, it’s one of those. As I said, I’ll sit down after the Euros and decide what I want to do. I want to give everything into this Euros and put in everything I can, like we do in every single game. If I say something then it is just going to cause even more chaos so there’s no point.”
Bale has one year remaining on his lucrative Real Madrid contract, which is worth £600,000 per week. His agent, Jonathan Barnett, last week described the Spanish reports about Bale’s possible retirement as “rubbish reporting”.
Bale said in March that he dreams of playing in a World Cup for Wales, at the start of their qualifying campaign for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
Asked on Monday about the possibility of the World Cup representing his last campaign for his country, he said: “Yes, it could be. Obviously you want to try to qualify for all the major tournaments like we all do. But like I have said, now is the time to solely focus on the Euros and I don’t want to be thinking about other things I have said in the past.”
Wales boss Robert Page explained the shock inclusion of Cardiff midfielder Rubin Colwill in his Euro 2020 squad by saying the 19-year-old “blew us all away” in training.
Colwill has played just 191 minutes of senior football since making his Cardiff City debut in February.
But, after taking his place in Wales’ pre-Euros training camp in Portugal this week, Colwill has made the cut for the final 26-man squad skippered by Gareth Bale.
“He’s been a breath of fresh air since he’s come in,” Page said of the uncapped midfielder who began the season playing academy football.
“He just blew us all away with how he was and how he conducted himself. He’s a top professional already and a great lad to have around the place. He’s really impressed me, he’s got a presence and maybe something we’ve not got in the middle of the park. He can play off the right, he can play as a 10, he can play in midfield – and that’s a bonus as well when you’re looking to pick a squad.”
There are eight survivors from the group which reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals in France – Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies, Chris Gunter, Danny Ward, Joe Allen, Jonny Williams and Wayne Hennessey.
Stoke midfielder Allen would have missed the tournament had it not been postponed for 12 months from last summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 31-year-old suffered a ruptured Achilles in March 2020 and has been declared fit despite missing the last two months of the season with calf and hamstring problems.
Squad in full
Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Stoke City)
Defenders: Chris Gunter (Charlton Athletic), Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur), Connor Roberts (Swansea City), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Joe Rodon (Tottenham Hotspur), Neco Williams (Liverpool), Rhys Norrington-Davies (Sheffield United), Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Tom Lockyer (Luton)
Midfielders: Aaron Ramsey (Juventus), Joe Allen (Stoke City), Jonny Williams (Cardiff City), Harry Wilson (Liverpool), Daniel James (Manchester United), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Joe Morrell (Luton Town), Matt Smith (Manchester City), Dylan Levitt (Manchester United), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City)
Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City), Tyler Roberts (Leeds United)
Wales Euro 2021 fixtures
Wales are in Group A, alongside Turkey, Italy and Switzerland
- Wales vs Switzerland – Saturday, June 12, 2pm (Baku)
- Turkey vs Wales – Wednesday, June 16, 5pm (Baku)
- Italy vs Wales – Sunday, June 20, 5pm (Rome)