Ahead of a busy summer full of transfer speculation and the European Championship, Tottenham winger Gareth Bale made it clear that he fully expects to return to Real Madrid at the end of his season-long loan to Spurs.
Ahead of Wales's first 2022 World Cup qualifier against top-ranked Belgium, Bale said that he is not worried about his future given that he still has one year left on his contract with Real Madrid.
"There's no distraction for me," Bale told Sky Sports in a pre-match press conference. "I think the main reason I came to Spurs this year was to play football first and foremost. Going into the Euros I wanted to be match-fit.
"The original plan was to do a season at Spurs and after the Euros still have a year left at Real Madrid. My plan is to go back, that's as far I have planned."
Since arriving at Real from Spurs in 2013 in a $132 million transfer, Bale's legacy at Madrid has been a complicated one given his heroics on the big stage and his failure to endear himself to a dedicated, but often rabid fanbase.
In his first season at Real, the Welsh star was well worth the world-record transfer fee. He scored the match-winner in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona with his stunning out-of-bounds run. He also secured the tiebreaker in the 2014 Champions League final win over rival Atlético Madrid.
Even after scoring two goals as a substitute in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool, Bale's carefree approach bordered on careless and irreverent to Real fans and manager Zinedine Zidane.
His return to Spurs on loan this season, in which Spurs reportedly agreed to pay £20 million in wages and loan fees, has not gone as expected with Bale struggling with various injuries while scoring 10 goals in 25 appearances. But the winger did show glimpses of the form that turned him into a global phenomenon with a run of six goals in six matches that ended in Tottenham's 2-1 loss to Arsenal in the North London derby on March 14, where he was subbed off for a lack of intensity. Bale hasn't started for manager Jose Mourinho since.