Gareth Bale would join another “giant club” if he were to leave Real Madrid, according to former Wales coach Chris Coleman.
Bale was withdrawn at half-time as Madrid lost 3-1 to Juventus in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final, Cristiano Ronaldo’s dramatic stoppage-time penalty securing progression for the holders.
The Wales star has endured another injury-affected season, starting only 16 La Liga games, and appears to have been usurped by Isco in Zinedine Zidane’s preferred starting line-up.
Bale’s early substitution against Juve prompted a fresh round of stories about his future, although the player’s agent Jonathan Barnett claims the speculation is being driven by the Spanish media.
Zidane has indicated he expects Bale to be at Madrid next season and Coleman – in charge of Wales when the 28-year-old fired his country to the semi-finals at Euro 2016 – thinks the forward will stay put.
“How long has he been there? Five years, has he?” Coleman, now in charge of Sunderland, said.
“After his first year when I used to do the Welsh press conferences, they always used to ask, ‘The Spanish press are not very happy with him, has he got a future there?’ I think he’s won three Champions Leagues there.
“All right, he’s done a good stint there, but the last time I spoke to him, he was very happy in Madrid, his family is settled there.
“Where does he go from there that’s bigger? There’s nowhere bigger, so if he does leave Madrid, where’s he going to go?
“It’s going to have to be another giant club.”
Manchester United are among the clubs to have been linked with a move for Bale, who has a contract with Madrid until 2022.