Football: Bale could rival Messi as world's best-paid player as Real Madrid look to keep him at Bernabeu

Gareth Bale. Photo / Getty Images
Gareth Bale. Photo / Getty Images

Gareth Bale has put himself in line to challenge Lionel Messi's position as the highest paid footballer in the world with his superb form for Real Madrid - form that could see him win a second Champions League title in three seasons.

As revealed by Telegraph Sport in March, Real are keen to extend Bale's contract by adding another two years to the Welshman's current deal that runs to 2019.

But to reach a swift conclusion to negotiations, Real will have to make Bale the club's highest-paid player, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, and place the forward in a similar pay bracket to Barcelona star Messi, who earns in excess of £336,000-a-week and is in line for a pay rise of his own this summer.

Bale is currently paid around £300,000-a-week by Real, but has eclipsed Ronaldo this season to become the club's most important player.

It was Bale's shot that deflected off Manchester City midfielder Fernando to put Real in the final of the Champions League and give the 26-year-old the chance to win the tournament for the second time in three seasons since moving to Spain from Tottenham Hotspur in a world record £85 million deal.

Former Spurs star Bale has also scored a series of important goals that have kept Real in the title race in La Liga, including a late winner against Real Sociedad last week.

He is two goals short of his best-ever League haul of 21 at Spurs, having played fewer games, and this season became the highest-ever scoring British footballer in La Liga, breaking Gary Lineker's record.

While Messi may still be considered the best footballer in the world, the Argentine will never be on the market for Real which means the Spanish club cannot afford to take any risks over Bale's future.

Bale is incredibly happy in Madrid, both personally and professionally, and is currently prioritising trying to win even more silverware with Real over his long-term future.

With three years left on his present deal, he does not need to go looking for a contract.

But with Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea all desperate to bring Bale back to the Premier League, and Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain tracking him, Real want to send out a statement over their star man.

All of Bale's suitors would be prepared to offer him huge pay rises to try to tempt him away from the Bernabeu, which leaves Real having to make a record-breaking offer to make sure talks are quick and easy.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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