Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

Dundee United, Shabab Al Ahli Dubai and other clubs where Gareth Bale can also enjoy golf

Real Madrid player courted controversy by posing with a flag that read 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order'

Gareth Bale, second right, celebrates Wales' win over Hungary in the Euro 2020 qualifiers at the Cardiff City Stadium. Getty Images
Gareth Bale, second right, celebrates Wales' win over Hungary in the Euro 2020 qualifiers at the Cardiff City Stadium. Getty Images

Gareth Bale’s celebrations with Wales on Tuesday night were sullied somewhat when he posed with a flag that has apparently angered employers Real Madrid. So much so, that some suggest Bale's time at the Bernabeu could be up. An avid golfer, we look at some of the best clubs – footballing and golfing – that could tempt the forward.

Cardiff City (Celtic Manor Resort)

As the flag said, “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order”. Then where else better to satisfy those first two priorities than Cardiff City? It’s Bale’s hometown club, currently competing in the English Championship, and it’s a stone’s throw from Celtic Manor Resort, the celebrated venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup. It even houses three championship courses, so Bale would most probably never get bored.

New York Red Bulls (Pine Valley)

A stint in Major League Soccer always feels a possibility with Bale, and so why not then choose the New Jersey side close to Pine Valley? The renowned track often features at No 1 in the golf course top 100 list, so he’d be swapping arguably the world’s biggest football club for its foremost golf one. New York’s all-time lead scorer, England’s Bradley Wright-Phillips, could help with the transition Stateside.

Dundee United (Old Course, St Andrews)

If the self-confessed home bird can’t wangle a move back to Wales, then the Old Course at St Andrew’s – the 'Home of Golf' – would no doubt appeal. For that, a transfer to Dundee United may well be the most obvious choice. The Terrors compete in the Scottish top flight, and have European pedigree, although not quite Madrid’s. Famously, they have been European Cup semi-finalists and Uefa Cup runners-up.

Warrenpoint Town (Royal County Down)

Another stalwart at the tip of the 'top courses in golf' list can be found in Northern Ireland. Royal County Down has a number of pull factors: a hugely respected course that has hosted the European Tour, while it allows for a quick jaunt back across the Irish Sea to Wales. The mighty Warrenpoint Town, 10th last season in the 12-team NIFL Premiership and with a 1450-capacity stadium, would therefore suit.

CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 19: Wales celebrate at full time during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group E Qualifier match between Wales and Hungary at the Cardiff City Stadium on November 19, 2019 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)
Gareth Bale celebrates with his Welsh teammates with the flag mocking the claims made by former Real Madrid player Predrag Mijatovic in a newspaper column. Getty

Southampton (Sunningdale Golf Club)

A return to the club where it all started provides a nice arc to Bale’s story. The winger made his name on England's South coast, starring for the academy upwards to then seal a mega-money move to Tottenham Hotspur, before that reported world-record transfer to Madrid. It just so happens that Sunningdale, which previously hosted the British Masters, the Senior Open and the like, is about an hour away.

Shabab Al Ahli Dubai (Majlis Course)

If Bale fancies a spell in the Arabian Gulf League – why wouldn't he? – then a switch to Dubai would be the draw. He has been here before, with Tottenham and more recently Madrid, so somewhere near to Emirates Golf Club, established home to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, could be an option. Step forward Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, searching for their first UAE championship since their 2017 merger. But could Bale oust from the side Ismail Al Hammadi?

Shanghai SIPG (Sheshan Golf Club)

A transfer to the Chinese Super League has long been mooted given Bale’s astronomical wages. While a move never materialised this past summer, Shanghai SIPG could be a desirable destination. League champions last year, they were previously managed by Bale’s former coach Andre Villas-Boas, so advice would be on hand. And with Sheshan Golf Club, venue for the WGC-HSBC Champions, practically on their doorstep, it’s a no-brainer.

Melbourne City FC (Royal Melbourne West)

OK, so Australia might be a world away from Wales, but time spent at Royal Melbourne Golf Club would likely help make up for the extra, long-distance travel. The West course has hosted numerous national and international events, including the President’s Cup and the Australian Open. Therefore, Abu Dhabi-owned Melbourne City, currently competing in the A-League, might make sense.

Atlanta United FC (Augusta National)

Should Pine Valley not float Bale's boat, Augusta National is guaranteed to. One of the most recognisable courses in golf, he'd enjoy nothing better in his spare time than taking on the venue for the Masters. For that, Atlanta United could convince him over MLS rivals New York Red Bulls. Frank de Boer manages them, so should know how to get the best out of Bale. One problem though: a tee time on Augusta National is notoriously hard to come by.

Updated: November 20, 2019 08:54 PM

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