Gareth Bale has said Carlo Ancelotti’s return to Real Madrid will have no bearing on his future but the Wales captain was full of praise for the Italian manager, under whom he won his first Champions League. On Monday Bale twice declined to deny reports he could retire after Euro 2020.
Bale mouthed the word “no” and shook his head when asked whether Ancelotti’s appointment would affect decisions over his future, before he said: “I’m not thinking about anything until after the Euros. I know Carlo Ancelotti, he’s a great manager, I get on with him really well, we had some great times in the past.”
Last month Bale, who spent last season on loan at Tottenham, said he was clear on his future but was reluctant to say anything for fear of causing “chaos”. On Thursday Ancelotti said that if Bale “has the motivation to try and play his best game he can have a great season”. Bale said of Ancelotti: “We had a great time together at Real Madrid and I’m sure he’s going to be amazing in charge there. I spoke to him when we played Everton at the start of the season, we hugged and had a little chat which was nice.
“But I’m still in the same boat and haven’t thought about it too much. I’m concentrated on our preparation now and what’s going to happen in the Euros and I’ll sort the rest of it after. I haven’t spoken to anybody. I’m not thinking about anything until after the Euros. I know Carlo’s returned and I get on with him really well, and I’m not denying that, but I’m just concentrating on now.”
Wales’ Group A opener is against Switzerland next Saturday and the executive vice-president of the Azerbaijan Football Association (AFFA), Elkhan Mammadov, has said he expects at least 20,000 tickets will be unsold for the match at Baku’s Olympic Stadium. Approximately 1,300 Wales supporters have tickets but it is unclear how many will go amid UK Foreign Office advice warning fans “not to travel”.
“I don’t think we’re going to be full with 32,000 for the first match on 12 June,” Mammadov said. “The number of tickets that were reserved before was 8,000 [per team] but because of the pandemic it has been reduced to 2,000. We are expecting up to 2,000 [Wales fans] for both matches [against Switzerland and Turkey]. From Switzerland, we are expecting approximately 1,000 fans. That is as a consequence of Covid-19.
“In terms of local fans, I think it will be a minor number because people will be more concentrated on Turkey v Wales, Switzerland v Turkey and then, of course, the quarter-final. We are talking about 10-12,000 fans for the first match; 8,000-9,000 locals will come.”
On Wednesday Azerbaijan confirmed it had lifted quarantine restrictions for supporters with a match ticket. The AFFA said fans wishing to travel to Baku could obtain a visa online. “I think Uefa has done the maximum [it could for supporters] and we, as a host, one of 11 cities, have tried to do our best,” Mammadov said.
Robert Page, the Wales manager, confirmed Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies and Joe Allen, all of whom featured against France on Wednesday and continue to build fitness following injuries, would play in Wales’ final warmup game before Euro 2020 against Albania in Cardiff on Saturday.
The Liverpool full-back Neco Williams will serve a one-match suspension following a red card in the midweek defeat. “He’s disappointed because he knows the importance of getting those minutes on board for next week, and he know there might be repercussions because of that,” Page said.