Gareth Bale admits he has no idea if Cristiano Ronaldo will still be a team-mate of his at Real Madrid next season – but is keeping his fingers crossed the Portugal superstar does end up staying with the European champions.
Not for the first time, speculation about Ronaldo’s future is one of football’s hottest topics after last month’s shock revelation that the 32-year-old was determined to quit Real and Spain.
That was due to the reigning Ballon d’Or and Best FIFA Men’s Player award winner feeling he was being singled out for disproportionate treatment after Spanish prosecutors accused him of evading tax of €14.7million. Those allegations were denied in a statement by Ronaldo’s management company Gestifute.
Ronaldo, who had been linked with a return to Manchester United, has remained silent on his future since then and it remains to be seen if Real’s all-time record goalscorer will line up for Zinedine Zidane’s men at the start of the coming season.
Bale hopes that will be the case, but insists he has no inside knowledge as to what his team-mate – who last November signed a contract tying him to Real until 2021 – will end up doing.
Gareth Bale on Real Madrid: "I have not thought of leaving Madrid. I know it is difficult to recover the position, but I am here for that." pic.twitter.com/E96fnhjCc1— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) July 17, 2017
Asked if he thinks Ronaldo wants to leave, Bale told Spanish newspaper Marca: “I’ve not read anything, I haven’t got a clue about what’s going to happen. Look, I only found out yesterday that (Romelu) Lukaku has signed for Manchester United… I honestly don’t know.
“You’ll have to ask him.”
But on whether Bale wants Ronaldo to remain at the Bernabeu, the former Tottenham forward was much clearer, saying: “Of course, we won titles, we did well, we don’t need to change anything.”
Bale and Ronaldo have been club-mates since 2013 and were part of the Madrid squad that won the Champions League and LaLiga titles last season, although the Wales international’s contribution was once more disrupted by injury – including an ankle problem which almost robbed him of a place in the Champions League final in his home city of Cardiff.
The 28-year-old has been plagued by fitness problems during his time in Spain but is hoping a strong pre-season will help stand him in good stead for the coming campaign.
Gareth Bale’s leg muscles should terrify us all. pic.twitter.com/T3QWtCADKw— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 16, 2017
“(The ankle is) fine. Obviously during the holidays I haven’t done a lot of intensive stuff on the area, in order to recover well,” he said.
“I found it difficult to stay fit last season due to the pain. I’ve worked hard to recover and now be able to take a full part in pre-season.
“I was annoyed last season because you always try to return to help the team, and give the best of yourself. Maybe I should have had more time recovering, and not forcing things, but now there is no pain. The ankle feels strong and I’m ready.
“I’m going to try and have my best season, of course, and if I respect the injuries I will have a great season. Now I need to make myself strong to try and avoid these injuries.”
Bale was a doubt for June’s Champions League final even in the days leading up to the match after being sidelined since April 23 with ankle ligament damage, but he was passed fit and ended up playing the last 13 minutes of the 4-1 win over Juventus.
He added: “I worked hard, 12 hours a day, to be available for the final, to make sure the ankle was OK, and to be able to enjoy those minutes was really rewarding. Lifting the cup in front of my family and friends was incredible.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Southampton defender VIRGIL VAN DIJK is considering handing in a transfer request in an effort to force through a move to Liverpool, according to the Sun.
However, the Daily Express claims that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is keen to sign the Dutchman.
The Sun reports that Jose Mourinho wants TONI KROOS as part of any deal that takes DAVID DE GEA to Real Madrid.
The Spanish champions have renewed their interest in goalkeeper De Gea recently, and Mourinho has insisted that German midfielder Kroos is included as a makeweight should the transfer go through.
Chelsea are preparing a bid for SERGIO AGUERO – with Pep Guardiola having already sanctioned the Argentine striker’s Manchester City exit, claims the Daily Star.
Meanwhile LOIC REMY is heading for the Chelsea exit, with Southampton and Everton both keen on the forward, according to Metro.
There's NO WAY Diego Costa is staying at Chelsea after this 🔴🔵 pic.twitter.com/T4A2iNx5Sb— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) July 17, 2017
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG: Borussia Dortmund have warned Chelsea and AC Milan that they will only consider offers for the Gabon forward for “a few more days” as they begin their pre-season preparations, reports the Daily Mail.
ROSS BARKLEY: Tottenham are set to return to Everton with an improved offer for the midfielder, whose Goodison Park contract expires next summer, according to the Independent.
DANILO: Manchester City are ready to join Chelsea in the race to sign Real Madrid’s Brazilian full-back, claims the Daily Star.
Provided by Press Association Sport
With the transfer window in full swing the rumour mill has gone into overdrive.
We dissect all of the top gossip doing the rounds across media channels in Europe to discover the fact from the fiction.
Will any of the following deals happen?
AC Milan will continue their dominance of the transfer market by completing a deal for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.
La Gazzetta dello Sport has the story with reports they have tabled a €70million bid and will offer the Spain international €10million per year in wages.
This would be a huge signing for Milan. With the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Lucas Biglia, Franck Kessie and Hakan Calhanoglu already moving to the San Siro, Vincenzo Montella has quite the squad on his hands.
Chelsea and of course Manchester United appeared to be in the box seat to sign the 24-year-old but it now seems Milan are the frontrunners.
Having enjoyed a fruitful loan spell with Juventus, it’s a move which will no doubt appeal to Morata so it’s a case of whether Madrid budge on their price tag.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde’s No1 transfer target this summer and according to Calciomercato the La Liga giants are readying an offer for the Italian.
Barca are willing to table a bid of €65million plus Ivan Rakitic in order to force PSG’s hands.
Unai Emery has worked with Rakitic at Sevilla so having the Croatian included in the deal would soften the blow of losing one of Europe’s premier midfield talents.
PSG have been steadfast in their desire to keep onto Verratti but with Barca calling there’s only way these transfers tend to go and that’s in favour of the buying club.
Chelsea have been linked with a sensational swoop for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.
According to AS journalist Manu Sainz, City boss Pep Guardiola has given his blessing but the two clubs are yet to thrash out a deal.
Possibly one of the most outlandish rumours of the transfer window so far, and that’s saying something, it’s incomprehensible Guardiola would allow Aguero leave to a direct Premier League rival.
Chelsea are of course in the market for a striker with Diego Costa Atletico Madrid bound, so it’s no surprise they are linked with just about every top forward in Europe but with City yet to sign a striker in this window it’s difficult to see the Argentine leaving the Eithad Stadium.
Me cuentan que el Chelsea quiere al Kun Agüero. Guardiola ya habría dado el ok a la operación...— Manu Sainz (@Manu_Sainz) July 16, 2017