areth Bale is putting no timeframe on a decision over his club future after Wales’ World Cup qualifying play-off victory over Ukraine put any potential retirement plans on hold.
Bale, who is a free agent after his contract at Real Madrid expired at the end of the season, played a major hand in the 1-0 win at the Cardiff City Stadium yesterday, with his first-half free-kick headed into his own net by Ukrainian skipper Andriy Yarmolenko to send Wales to their first World Cup since 1958.
There had been reports that the Welsh captain would consider hanging up his boots were Robert Page’s side to fail to qualify for Qatar. He joked at full-time that talk of retirement could be put to bed “for a little bit” and will now seek a new club in order to keep fit and playing in the lead up to the tournament, which begins in mid-November.
The 32-year-old had said ahead of the Ukraine clash that he had “loads of offers” and discussions with the forward’s representatives are set to take place in the coming days, but no deadline has been set for a decision.
Bale has been linked with a move to Championship side Cardiff in his homeland, as well as clubs in the Premier League and MLS, though the American regular season finishes in early October, meaning competitive action closer to the World Cup would be dependent on a prospective team’s progress in the playoffs.
Standard Sport reported in March that Bale could agree a short-term six-month deal, before retiring immediately after the World Cup.
The former Tottenham star was part of the Wales side that reached the semi-finals at Euro 2016 as well the last-16 at Euro 2020, and has now finally ended the nation’s 64-year wait for a World Cup appearance.
“It’s what we’ve been working all our careers for and to do this for the fans, the nation, ourselves and our families is an incredible achievement, and it will be something that we will be forever proud of,” he said. “It means everything. It is the last piece of the jigsaw.”