As a professional athlete, one must usually dedicate his life to one single sport, especially if he’s among the best at it. However, there are several examples across the years where some of the greatest of all time in their designated area decided to change course.
For instance, Michael Jordan might have never made another three-peat, if he didn’t play baseball during his break from the NBA. Moreover, one of the most versatile athletes of all time, Jim Thorpe, participated in the 1912 Olympic Games, while also being a professional baseball, American football, and basketball player.
The 2022 Wimbledon runner-up, Nick Kyrgios, is another fresh example as not once has he stated that he tends to play basketball quite often. Even though in sports like tennis the individual is given much more freedom, in team sports it’s expected from the player to be fully dedicated to his main activity. That’s why nobody has been happy with Gareth Bale’s praising words for the sport of golf, while he continues to be a footballer.
The 33-year-old Welsh winger for MLS club Los Angeles FC has been a controversial figure in the last couple of seasons as he refused to play for Real Madrid, while at the same time being in the zenith of his career. However, he is currently focused on bringing national glory to Wales, as he participates in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. According to the Bovada sports website, his chances of making an impact are slim, but he has proven his critics wrong several times already.
Early Success in Tottenham
As a 17-year-old boy, Gareth Bale signed a 4-year contract with one of the most promising teams in the Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur. Little did he know that this particular move would have directed his life from then onward. His impressive talent and sheer physical attributes were quickly recognized by Harry Redknapp who helped him grow as a player and develop a certain set of skills.
Tottenham undoubtedly served as his trampoline into European football. Bale was unstoppable on the wing as he made the UEFA Team of the Year in 2011 and 2013. Selected as Tottenham’s best player for the 2012-13 campaign, the Welshman was also given the Premier League Player of the Season award that same year.
His pace down the wing was remarkable as he was able to cover both the defensive and the attacking line on the pitch. Adding strength, heading ability, and stamina to his already incredible physical abilities made him one of the most attractive players in the world. His fate was in his hands as he chose to pursue a career in the most decorated team of all time, Real Madrid.
Real Madrid – On Top of the World
Gareth Bale joined Cristiano Ronaldo and a handful of world-class players in Santiago Bernabeu. Led by their captain, Iker Casillas, “Los Blancos” were desperately looking to find the right recipe for their tenth UEFA Champions League title. At the end of the day, it seemed that the missing ingredient was exactly Gareth Bale.
On May 24, 2014, the Welshman was at the right place at the right time as his header in the extra-time against Atletico Madrid gave his team the much-needed momentum in the Final. On this day, he became one of the few who have written their names in huge letters in Real Madrid history.
His impact on the team went on to be crucial in the upcoming years as the trio in the attack was simply unstoppable. Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo made the impossible winning back-to-back UCL titles in 2016 and 2017, which was later topped with another trophy the following year.
Exactly in 2018 in the Final against Liverpool, he gave the world his swan song wearing a Real Madrid jersey. Despite entering the game as a substitute in the 61st minute, he managed to score two decisive goals which earned him the Man of the Match award. From then on, Bale was unable to return to his peak, suggesting that golf was far more exciting than club football.
Potential Future in Golf
Even though the Welshman is a great fan of the sport, he continues to play football up to this day. He might have a three-hole course with a replica of the 17th hole – the island green – from the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass in his home, but he has not made an official appearance at any professional golf tournament.
While playing for Wales in the World Cup, Bale was specifically banned from playing golf. To get around the golf ban, Bale had a golf simulator installed in his hotel in Qatar.
Now, at 33 years of age, Gareth Bale is way past his prime as he plays for Los Angeles FC. However, he managed to squeeze in an equalizer deer into the stoppage time, thus helping his team eventually snatch the MLS Cup from the hands of the Philadelphia Union. Despite his unconditional love for golf, Gareth Bale still enjoys playing football even after reaching the top of the world.
He will most likely retire from the sport soon as he might pursue a career in golf. Knowing his dedication and versatile ability to adapt, he may as well end up being one of the top players on the Tour.