Gareth Bale is facing further transfer uncertainty at Real Madrid after new Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo emphatically ruled out the possibility of the Welshman returning to north London.
Bale enjoyed a mixed loan spell back at Spurs last season, but still managed to net an impressive tally of 16 goals.
The Welshman is expected to remain in the Spanish capital for next season, with a return to north London seemingly ruled out by the new Spurs boss.
Asked about a possible reunion with Bale, Santo simply told reporters: “He will not be part of our squad.”
Bale, who turned 32 on Friday, has seen his future come under intense speculation over the last few weeks, having said before the recent Euro 2020 campaign that he had already made a decision on his next move, but warned he wouldn’t reveal anything until after leading Wales into the tournament as it would “cause chaos”.
Reports have already suggested that Bale may be tempted to retire from club football next summer, and sign off by leading Wales into the 2022 Qatar World Cup, providing they qualify of course.
There has been little indication that Bale is willing to terminate the remaining year on his £600,000-a-week contract, which presents something of a problem for Real.
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As reported by the Mirror, Real are only permitted to have three non-EU players in their squad due to La Liga regulations.
Britain officially left the EU in January 2020 but Spanish football chiefs allowed British players to maintain EU status until the end of the 2020/21 season.
With that transition period now over, Bale is now one of four non-EU players on their books, along with Brazilian trio Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Eder Militao.
It means Real will almost certainly have to get rid of one of them.
Given the departure of Sergio Ramos, and the seemingly imminent sale of Raphael Varane, Los Blancos would surely be loathed to lose centre-back Militao this summer.
Should Bale stay in Spain, it would mean one of the Rodrygo or Vinicius could well be shipped out, although it remains to be seen what plans Carlo Ancelotti has for Bale over the coming weeks.