Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale fueled speculation of a Premier League return after helping Real Madrid win their fourth Champions League in five years. Pictured, Real Madrid's Welsh forward Bale holds the trophy at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid during a victory ceremony after Real Madrid won its third Champions League title in a row in Kiev, May 27, 2018. GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand urged Gareth Bale to leave Real Madrid this summer and return to the Premier League where he can be a leading man again.

Bale endured a mixed season at Madrid as constant injury problems saw him regularly go in and out of Zinedine Zidane's starting lineup. He was able to cap it off in style though, as he came off the bench to score two spectacular goals and help his side defeat Liverpool 3-1 in the Champions League final Saturday in what was the fourth title in five years for Los Blancos.

Despite not being a regular in the starting lineup, the Welshman still managed a more than respectable tally of 21 goals and eight assists from 39 appearances in all competitions. However, he feels he should be starting more games, particularly one as important as the Champions League final as he fueled speculation of a return to England shortly afterward.

"I need to be playing week in, week out, and that has not happened this season," he said after the game when asked about a Premier League return. "I had an injury five, six weeks in but fit ever since. I have to sit down with my agent in the summer and discuss it."

"Obviously I was very disappointed not to start the game, I felt I deserved it but the manager makes the decisions. The best I have been doing is to come on and make an impact, I certainly did."

Bale joined Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 following an impressive Premier League campaign to eventually be the heir to Cristiano Ronaldo. It certainly looked that way when the 28-year-old scored the winner in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona during Ronaldo's absence as well as the crucial second goal in his side's 4-1 Champions League final win against Atletico Madrid that season.

However, given his injury problems along with Ronaldo still going strong at 33, Bale is yet to be Madrid's main man and Ferdinand believes he has done more than enough to deserve a leading role. He also wants Bale to return to the Premier League and write a new chapter in his career, preferably with Manchester United, who have been perennially linked with the former Southampton man over the years.

"Four Champions League winners' medals, three Champions League finals goals - what more is there to do at Real Madrid for Gareth Bale?" Ferdinand wrote on Instagram. "He was brought there to eventually take over the mantle as the team's talisman from Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Portuguese megastar has not played ball with that idea."

"But what he has done is produce magic moments on the big stage - in finals, and played a vital role in this record-breaking squad led by the great Zidane. Now I feel it's up to him to decide what he wants. Some will say he has nothing to prove but does he want to go somewhere and be the main man and take on the full responsibility of a club who want to win?"

"Or does he want to remain and continue in the role he is in now, as the supporting cast? Personally I would love to see him come back to the Premier League (preferably with Manchester United). Write a new chapter as a leader of a club, the go-to guy at all times, the icon... this is what the greats do in all sports, not just football. It elevates them."