Gareth Bale dismisses retirement talk after Wales crash out of World Cup: ‘We go again’

Gareth Bale came off after 45 minutes in Wales’ defeat to England  (PA)
Gareth Bale came off after 45 minutes in Wales’ defeat to England (PA)

Gareth Bale has insisted he does not intend for Wales’ defeat to England at the World Cup to be his final international appearance.

Talk over the 33-year-old’s future intensified over the summer after he left Real Madrid, with suggestions that he was looking for a short-term deal at club level to take him through to the World Cup, after which he would consider stepping away from the sport.

He has made just two MLS starts for LAFC, and struggled to get up to speed in Qatar as Wales’ 3-0 defeat to England confirmed their exit from the tournament. They finished bottom of Group B, Bale’s penalty against the USA their only goal of the tournament.

However, the forward is adamant he is not looking to hang up his boots, turning his focus instead to qualification for Euro 2024.

“I will keep going as long as I can and as long as I am wanted - we go again in March,” Bale said after the match.

It was a message echoed by boss Rob Page, who said on Bale’s international future: “I don’t think it will be the last time you see him in a Welsh jersey, there are games starting in March for the Euros.

“We want to get off to a flying start and I think you’ll still see him in the jersey.”

Bale was replaced at half-time against England, having completed just one pass as he has seven touches of the ball in total in what was a completely anonymous 45 minutes from Wales’ all-time record appearance maker.

Wales v England FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar | Group B Match | 29th November 2022

(AP)
(AP)
(Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)
(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
(Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)
(PA)
(PA)
(AP)
(AP)
(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
(Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)
(World Cup News Pool (WCNP))
(World Cup News Pool (WCNP))
(Marcus Rashford)
(Marcus Rashford)

Page revealed that change was due to an injury, but praised Bale’s work-rate in the first-half despite his lack of involvement in an attacking sense.

“He was struggling first-half with his hamstring,” the Wales boss said. “I had to make the call at half-time, I think he wanted to come back out and give it a go. But playing a good team like that, we knew we had to be disciplined in our shape and catch them on the counter attack.

He added: “He is fine, he wants what is best for the team, he understands that. He knew if he had gone back out he would have been about 70 percent, if you play against a team like that you can’t carry anybody.

“And we need people out there willing to tun into the group and he did that first half. I thought he was excellent first half defensively. He put in a shift for us.”