Gareth Bale withdrew from Team GB’s Olympic squad as he did not believe Stuart Pearce’s men were strong enough to challenge for medals.
The Welshman – who was ruled out of London 2012 with a back injury – also did not want to miss three weeks of the north London club’s pre-season training.
The Tottenham star caused controversy by claiming he would not be fit for the Games, only to turn out for the White Hart Lane side on their US tour – and score in a friendly against the LA Galaxy – before the Olympics had even kicked off.
Yet sources close to Bale have revealed that the winger, who had previously ignored the preference of the Welsh FA for their players not to join the GB team, decided that the Olympics would not be the best way to prepare for the new Premier League campaign.
His father Frank urged him to play for Great Britain, but the player held firm.
And Bale’s decision to commit to Spurs this summer was nothing to do with a recently-announced contract extension.
That supposed new commitment was merely a clause in his previous deal, triggered by Spurs finishing in the Premier League’s top four – even though they did not qualify for the Champions League.
Bale, 23, informed chairman Daniel Levy he wanted to quit this summer, but was told his earlier deal – which ran until 2014 – had been extended by a further year.
The extension did earn Bale a big pay rise, making him the club’s best-paid star.
And it is believed Levy would not entertain offers of less than £70million for him.
Personally, I agree with Bale in this instance. Before team GB was announced by Stuart Pearce, I was fairly optimistic about our chances in the competition. However the friendly performance against Brazil was poor, the team looked weak and unorganised at the back.
With a new manager to impress at club level and team GB’s chances of winning the Olympics very slim, I probably would’ve chosen to focus on Tottenham’s preseason tour.
Obviously, it’s a huge privilege to play for your country in any sporting event, but in this case I feel Bale’s decision was the right move to make.
I would love to hear your opinions on this situation, please leave any comments in the section below!