Gareth Bale has confirmed that he will remain at Real Madrid this season despite receiving interest from Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho, speaking ahead of Man United’s UEFA Super Cup clash with Madrid, noted that he would attempt to sign Bale if he was surplus to requirements at the Bernabeu.
But the 54-year-old later conceded that, having seen Bale start for Los Blancos in Skopje, the club would no longer pursue his signature, with Florentino Perez going on to insist that the winger was not for sale.
And Bale, when once again asked about his future, made it clear that he was focused on maintaining a place in the starting XI under Zinedine Zidane.
“What do you want me to say? I’m concentrating on my football, I’m concentrating on getting my fitness up,” he said.
“I’m happy I’m playing football, I’m winning trophies, so yeah, I don’t want to move, there’s not really much more I can say.
“The club hasn’t said anything, we’ve spoken, they’re happy with everything and, yeah, for me, I just want to concentrate now on getting fit, on getting ready for the new season and playing as well as I can.”
“Obviously, I feel like I’m happy to fight for my place. We’re all fighting for our places anyway. It’s nothing new in football, it happens at every club, you just carry on like normal.”
Many of you would have smartly ruled out the prospect of Bale moving to Old Trafford from the very start, but there was, at least for me, a small part that couldn’t quite kick the naive hope of pinching one of the world’s best out of my head. He has always been a player perfectly suited to the rapid intensity of Premier League football.
Any vestige of hope, however, was quickly eradicated when seeing Bale in action for Madrid against United. He is part of something truly special; Madrid have won three of the last four Champions League titles and can rightly label themselves as the best club side of the 21st century. They are imperious to a scary degree: every position boasts quality and maturity to a point where you can’t even criticise them for not signing any big players this summer. There really aren’t many weak spots – if any.
If I was Bale, my emphasis would be firmly on retaining a place under Zidane. They will be the team to beat in Europe once again this season.