Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are proving they still have a connection worthy of the world stage but after Euro 2020 both players must turn their attention to the next stage of their club journeys.
Wales beat Turkey 2-0 on Wednesday and are now on the cusp of qualification for the European Championship knockout stages. Their status is a reminder that we must be careful who we write off—and the personal cases of Bale and Ramsey mirror that of their nation.
Wales were barely given any hope in this tournament and over the past year both players have been disrespected similarly on the club scene.
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Bale joined Tottenham on loan from Real Madrid and most regarded it as little more than an emotional move from Daniel Levy. Ramsey persisted with trying to prove himself at Juventus and most judged it as a waste of a season.
Yet both players still feel worthy of playing at the very top level and making a difference. Their roles in that Wales victory were a stark reminder of their ability and drive.
So what will they do next season?
We should begin with Bale, who enjoyed his return to Spurs last term and had a bigger impact than he is given credit for. Around the training ground he has been low maintenance yet also inspirational. On the pitch his return in the Premier League was better than a goal every other game.
Officially his loan agreement runs until June 30 and it is after that date discussions can formally begin about what happens next.
A month ago Bale seemed certain for another year at Tottenham. They have a priority agreement with Madrid that means he can re-sign for another year on the same terms as last season and chairman Levy has fully intended to trigger that clause.
There was never any chance of Bale returning to play under Zinedine Zidane in Spain. The relationship had broken down.
Yet everything at both clubs looks so different right now that things have become much more complicated.

Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale

Image credit: Getty Images

Tottenham have a new sporting director in Fabio Paratici and will eventually have a new manager, though the ongoing search for that man is descending into a farce.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid have brought Carlo Ancelotti back as head coach.
In July there will be fresh discussion with Bale’s representatives about the future.
He has one year remaining on his Madrid contract and while there has never been much intention to return for that spell, the whole landscape has changed and every party will give an updated view of how they see his future.
Sources believe he will still be tempted to stay at Spurs but he will have to be convinced of how the club are planning for next season.

Aaron Ramsey gives Wales the lead

Image credit: Getty Images

For Ramsey there is uncertainty, too.
He took an emotional decision to leave Arsenal on a free transfer in 2019 yet his time in Turin has been stop-start and he has never been able to put together a consistent spell of top form.
Last season he made 13 starts in Serie A, scoring twice. His physical issues constantly held him back.
Reports in Italy claim the club are ready to move him on yet people close to the player say he is not ready to give up on Juventus yet. Ideally, he wants to prove to Massimiliano Allegri he can be a valuable player next season.
Part of the issue with moving, too, would be his current salary—7m Euros a year. The other important aspect would be to find the right project.
The Premier League would be Ramsey’s ideal destination if he had to move yet he is currently being linked with Crystal Palace and West Ham United rather than Manchester United or Liverpool, as has been the case in the past. Ramsey still sees himself as a Champions League level player.

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A return to Arsenal has been vaguely mentioned yet there has been no movement from the London club. At a time when they are desperatefor new signings though, and with midfield being a key area of focus, sources say there is time for that to change. They are finding it difficult to attract elite level talent and if that frustrating pursuit continues, Ramsey might be genuinely considered. But, again, we would have to see whether an emotional move would be tempting enough.
Wales will just be pleased to see these two players so committed to proving people wrong.
For Bale and Ramsey the future is unclear - but both are very much focused on the here and now.
They will use this tournament to remind everyone what makes them special and then make big decisions in July.
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