GARETH BALE is still a "great player" that "has a lot to offer in football", according to long-term pal and team-mate Luka Modric.
But the Croatian has admitted that Bale finds himself in a "difficult" position.
The pair have played together for 11 of the last 12 seasons, since Modric, 35, joined Tottenham from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008.
This summer, however, could be the year that the duo go their separate ways – with Bale out of favour under Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.
Speaking to The Times, Modric said: "For almost 12 years we are playing together and it’s a difficult situation for him and for the club.
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"Does he feel happy here or does he want to try something else? But, for me, Gareth is still a great player and still has a lot to offer in football.
"It just depends on him, if he has enough hunger or desire to keep going. I think he has but whether his situation finishes here or continues, he can still be an important player.”
Bale failed to feature in any of Real Madrid's last seven LaLiga matches last season, and was left out of their travelling party to face Manchester City in the Champions League.
The 31-year-old has tenuously been linked with a return to England, with Madrid reportedly willing to accept £22million for him – although no serious suitor has yet emerged.
England legend John Barnes, however, believes that Manchester United would be his best Premier League destination.
He told BonusCodeBets: "If Gareth Bale was to come to the Premier League, I couldn’t imagine Liverpool or Chelsea wanting to sign him, especially from a financial point of view.
“What a team will want is a hungry version of Gareth Bale.
"We don’t know what state he is currently in as he hasn’t really played for the last couple of years, we don’t know how fit he is or how hungry he is to still play at the highest level.
“In terms of the way he plays, Manchester City would be best suited for him, but they aren’t going to want to sign him.
"Tottenham Hotspur is a club who he has played for before but is he the type of player that Jose Mourinho wants? I don’t think so.
"Manchester United is probably the best club for him, but it is whether they want him despite considering his age and the salary he comes with.”
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