My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Will Gareth Bale play Premier League football again?

Photo credit: Twitter / @GarethBale11

When the day comes for Gareth Bale to hang up his boots, there will be a lot for him to look back on and be proud of. A four-time Champions League winner with 100 international caps to his name, few can claim to have hit the heights that the Welsh icon has scaled.

Are there, though, a few more chapters left to be written in the most remarkable of tales? Does a professional fire still burn bright for the man from Cardiff who made it big in Madrid? Could he yet retrace his steps a little closer to home?

Bale knows what English football is all about and has illuminated it with unworldly performances and stunning goals that will live long in the memory. Plenty of managers would still welcome him back with open arms.

Premier League winner odds from Paddy Power continue to lean heavily towards the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool – with reigning champions from the Etihad Stadium topping that market at 4/5 – but those particular buses may have passed Bale by as Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel have no need for him at present. For all of his undoubted quality, he is not the player he once was.

He does, however, still have plenty to offer, as he he shown back in Spain when free of injury this season, and has some big decisions fast approaching. His contract at Santiago Bernabeu is due to expire in the summer of 2022.

Where will Bale go next?

Despite being the most successful British export to Europe, with a record-breaking transfer completed back in 2013, it appears unlikely that fresh terms will be tabled in Spain. Bale may be part of Real’s past and present, but he is not their future.

That means that free agency will beckon at the end of the current campaign. The fate of a man who has often gone chasing the dreams of others will be back in his own hands. He can now dictate what happens next.

While there has been talk of retirement, especially with the Wales national side, any plans there appear set to be shelved for some time yet. There is still too much to be achieved by a man that has never hidden his passion for sports away from the football field to be considering swapping goals for golf just yet.

The biggest target for Bales is unquestionably the 2022 World Cup. He has graced two European Championships with his country, but never the grandest of sporting stages. One more opportunity awaits there.

If Wales were to book tickets to Qatar, then there is no question that Bale would prolong his club career for at least another 12 months. When he does hit the open market, there will be no shortage of takers.

There has previously been talk of moves to America or Asia, but a return to the Premier League may be a favoured option. Could Bale take in a third spell at Spurs? Would he fit the bill for ambitious Newcastle? Might he return to Cardiff and look to help the Bluebirds fly back to the Promised Land?

Answers to all of those questions are coming, with Bale able to enter into talks with any interested parties from January.