EAST RUTHERFORD • Gareth Bale is close to a move to Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning that will see him earn close to £1 million (S$1.7 million) a week, according to multiple media reports.
According to The Telegraph, Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is the world's highest-paid footballer on a reported £1.7 million a week, but the Real Madrid forward will not be far off that figure should he sign off on the "unbelievable" offer.
Bale will, however, have the most lucrative contract in Chinese football, dwarfing the £615,000-a-week earned by former Argentina striker Carlos Tevez at Shanghai Shenhua and the current highest earner at £400,000 - former Chelsea midfielder Oscar, 27, who now plays for Shanghai SIPG.
The Wales international, Real's joint-record signing with Eden Hazard at £88 million, has been linked with a move to China following Zinedine Zidane's strongly worded comments regarding his future at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Real coach said the Spanish LaLiga giants were "working on his exit" and expected a deal with an unnamed club to be "imminent".
That now appears to be the case with Bale said to be nearing agreement on personal terms with Jiangsu, who are sixth in the Chinese league and are managed by Romanian Cosmin Olaroiu.
Their squad includes former Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid defender Miranda, and one-time Liverpool target Alex Teixeira.
The 30-year-old Bale was keen to stay at Real, with three years left on his deal, but Zidane has been at the forefront of a sustained and very public campaign to move him out.
Despite patchy form and injuries limiting him to just 79 league starts in the past four years, his time in Spain has been a successful one, winning four Champions Leagues and one league title among other trophies since joining in 2013.
Goals Real Madrid conceded in three games on their US tour.
He looks set to leave a club seemingly in disarray, despite being the biggest spenders in Europe this summer with an outlay of £300 million on marquee signings including Hazard and Luka Jovic.
Real finished their United States pre-season tour winless in normal time after a 7-3 thrashing by rivals Atletico Madrid in New Jersey on Friday. They lost 3-1 to Bayern Munich, drew 2-2 with Arsenal before being hit by four-goal Diego Costa, who was sent off along with Dani Carvajal in a second-half melee.
But Zidane insisted the team are calm despite conceding 12 goals in three games, although he admitted they "lacked everything, especially intensity".
REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN