Gareth Bale wanted to “make Chinese football great” when linked with a move to Asia in the summer of 2019, claims his agent, but is now planning on staying at Real Madrid and will not be heading back to the Premier League at Tottenham.
Each passing transfer window brings with it a fresh round of rumours regarding the Wales international.
There has been little substance to most of the speculation, but the 30-year-old was intrigued by a big-money offer from the CSL and came close to bringing an end to a spell at Santiago Bernabeu which has delivered plenty of silverware but also a lot of criticism.
Bale’s representative, Jonathan Barnett, concedes that a switch away from the Spanish capital was given serious consideration.
He told AS: “He got an offer that was impossible to refuse. But Real Madrid wouldn't sell him. They [the Chinese club] couldn't pay what Madrid wanted.
“He wanted to create a legacy. He wanted to bring Chinese football up. He had a vision that he could make Chinese football great. He's won everything that he can win, and he's done it many times.
“It was to create a legacy, his name, to be the first great player to go to China. But it wasn't to be... And the money was special too. It would have made him the highest paid player on Earth.
“He's not interested in going anywhere. China was a completely different thing. He plays for Real Madrid, you know.”
Bale was the subject of intense speculation again throughout January 2020, with it suggested that former club Spurs and their Premier League rivals Manchester United were once again sniffing around.
Barnett, though, says a second spell in England is unlikely, adding when pressed on whether he could see the Welshman back in north London: “No. He's 30 years old, he'll be 31 next year. I don't know how long Gareth will play for.
“It's what his lifestyle wants. He loves Madrid. His children have been there since they were babies, they speak Spanish, believe it or not. The whole lifestyle is fantastic. I was there two days ago in Madrid, it was 15 degrees, beautiful. Here it's freezing cold. If you're one of the greatest footballers to have ever played, why do you want to...”
Barnett added on Bale’s links to United, with it claimed that the Red Devils came close to doing a deal in 2017: “Every club wanted him. He was happy at Madrid. He was not for sale then, he was one of the best players in the world.
“He's not for sale now. Real Madrid have always shown great respect for him, the president has always been a Bale fan and shows him unbelievable respect.”