Longstanding Bale interest at a dead end

SKOPJE • Jose Mourinho admitted it is "game over" regarding Manchester United's hopes of signing Gareth Bale.

The 28-year-old has been the subject of speculation that Real Madrid may sell him, but United's manager was unequivocal regarding Bale's future following the Uefa Super Cup final in Skopje on Tuesday.

Asked if the pursuit of Bale was over, Mourinho said: "I think so - clearly the club want him and he wants the club - game over even before it started - everybody knows he is going to stay."

The Portuguese raised the possibility of signing Bale on the eve of the match, but the Welshman's selection in Zinedine Zidane's starting XI convinced him that the former Tottenham Hotspur winger is not for sale.

Bale lined up alongside French striker Karim Benzema up front in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and laid on the pass for Isco to net Real's winner.

He narrowly missed out on scoring himself as he thundered a shot against the bar later in the second half before being taken off.

Bale also rebutted any suggestion Madrid have spoken to him about being sold.

"Not that I know of," the forward said of whether Real had informed him he could move on.

"I haven't had any of those conversations. I am just concentrating on my football and trying to get fitness up after not playing regularly for eight or nine months.

"I'm just concentrating on my football and I'm not listening to anything. I'm not reading anything, although people tell me bits and bobs. I'm enjoying my football and playing as much as I can and winning trophies."

Bale has won nine trophies in four years at the Spanish club.

Real president Florentino Perez also ruled out selling the player he brought to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2013 for a then world-record fee of £85.5 million (S$151 million).

"I can't contemplate selling him, he's a Real Madrid player, he's important to us and he's one of the best in the world," Perez said.

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'Longstanding Bale interest at a dead end'. Print Edition | Subscribe