Gareth Bale could miss out on a fairytale return to Wales — but has been assured that Madrid will remain his footballing home.
That has raised serious question marks about Bale’s long-term future, as Spanish midfielder Isco is likely to get the nod over him for a place in the starting XI on Saturday night.
But the 27-year-old has been left in no doubt that he is viewed as a huge part of new La Liga champions Real‘s future by the club’s hierarchy and manager Zinedine Zidane.
Bale has endured a frustrating season because of injury, and his latest calf problem has meant he’s missed the last six weeks and only just returned to training.
So he is set to be restricted to a role off the bench against Juve at the Principality Stadium, with Zidane hoping his pace as a substitute could end up making the Welshman a match-winner.
Former Tottenham winger Bale is 90 minutes from his third European Cup in four years and, despite some doubts in Spain, Real will rebuff any interest this summer in bringing him back to the Premier League.
Wales legend Ian Rush agrees Bale could be a supersub on the night and will be the player that Juve, one of his own former clubs, will fear.
“Even a 50 per cent Gareth Bale would be worth having on the bench,” said the ex-Liverpool goal machine.
“He hasn’t played for seven weeks, [so it’s a decision] whether you play him from the start for 60 minutes, because he will tire, or maybe bring him on after 60, 70 minutes.
“If you’re the Juventus defenders and you’re doing really well for 60 minutes and you see Gareth Bale come on, you’re thinking, ‘Oh God, I’ve got a problem here.’
“It would be the icing on the cake for Gareth Bale. He could come on, score the winning goal —what better story could you ask for?
“I wouldn’t put it past him, because he’s good enough to do that.”