A move to China seemed inevitable in the summer after Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning offered the Welshman a £1m-per-week contract.
Bale duly accepted and it seemed like manager Zinedine Zidane was more than happy for the transfer to go ahead.
"Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving," said Zidane after a 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in July. "We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone.
"We are working on his transfer to a new team. I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done, I have to make decisions.
We have to change. The exit is the coach's decision, and also of the player, who knows the situation.
"The situation will change, I do not know if in 24 or 48 hours, but it will, and it's a good thing for everyone."
However, just when it seemed the deal was done, Real pulled out and Bale was forced to stay put in the Spanish capital.
According to various reports, Real decided at the last minute that they wanted a transfer fee for the 30-year-old, who they signed in 2013 for £85m.
Bale was left furious and he now has to wait until January at the earliest to finally get his move away from Real.
His desire to leave Los Blancos has been obvious for a long time and he once again made it clear prior to the 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in midweek.
Moments before posing for a team photo, Bale - who was right in the middle - was handed Real's pennant by Raphael Varane.
Bale's face said it all as he reluctantly accepted it, only he then turned to Dani Carvajal and gave it to the Spaniard instead before beaming in front of the camera.
Could you make it any more obvious, Gareth?
Bale is desperate to get out of Real Madrid - they don't want him either - and it would be in everyone's best interests to let him leave as soon as possible.News Now - Sport News