In a recent interview, Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale discussed the struggles he faces as a professional footballer while appearing to suggest his love for the sport has lost its spark.
The Welshman has not played a big part under Zinedine Zidane since the Frenchman returned to the dugout, with reports in Spain claiming the 29-year-old is not wanted by the manager.
While it seems clear that he has no future at Los Blancos, Bale’s agentJonathan Barnett surprisingly said that his client is willing to see out his contract in Madrid, which only expires in 2022.
Bale’s relationship with Zidane appears to be irreparable, but it seems his relationship with the sport has also turned sour, with the winger admitting he does not feel the same way about football as he did when he was a kid.
"As a professional athlete, particularly in a team environment, you can’t choose your own timetable like in golf or tennis," he said in an upcoming documentary for BT Sport Films title ‘State of Play’.
"It’s like we’re basically just robots. We’re told where to be, when to be there, what time we have to eat, what time we have to report for the coach.
"It’s as though you lose your freedom in a way. You can’t decide what you want to do and when you want to do it.
"So in that sense, I can totally understand why people say that. But on the other hand, I think that a career in football is so short that you have to sacrifice those things.
"When you’re a kid, you don’t have so much going on in your head, you can just play with your mates and have a laugh.
"When you become a professional there are all types of pressure, of expectation, of people saying negative things about you all the time, and you lose that feeling you had as a kid."
It has been claimed by several journalists that Bale is mainly interested in staying at Real due to the hot Spain weather, which allows him to play plenty golf.
Despite links with Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, it appears the Wales international will look to remain where he is.
Do you think Bale might consider retiring early from football? Let us know in the comment section below.