Bale's China move blocked by Real

Gareth Bale had been expected to join Chinese Super League outfit Jiangsu Suning on a three-year contract worth £1 million a week.
Gareth Bale (centre) had been expected to join Chinese Super League outfit Jiangsu Suning on a three-year contract worth £1 million a week.PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID • Gareth Bale's move to Chinese side Jiangsu Suning has been cancelled by Real Madrid, a source close to the Wales forward told AFP yesterday.

The 30-year-old, who has been in the Spanish capital since 2013, was expected to join the Chinese Super League outfit on a three-year deal worth £1 million (S$1.7 million) a week.

According to The Telegraph, the move broke down because Real are seeking a transfer fee for the player.

The British daily added that Real president Florentino Perez is believed to have blocked the sale because he believes the forward - who cost a then-world record fee of £85 million from Tottenham Hotspur - is too valuable to release on the cheap.

The surprise development has reportedly left Bale's camp "furious".

The 77-time international had been told in the summer by Real coach Zinedine Zidane that he does not form part of his plans at the Bernabeu, with the former France international saying last week that it "would be better" if the player left the club soon.

"If it's tomorrow, it would be better," Zidane was quoted as saying then, although he later blamed his suspect Spanish and said the club are "trying to get him out" instead.

He missed Real's 3-1 pre-season friendly defeat by Bayern Munich last week but came off the bench and scored in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the International Champions Cup, although Zidane insisted after that match that "nothing has changed".

The former Spurs winger came off the bench again to play half an hour in Real's record 7-3 defeat by rivals Atletico Madrid last Saturday.

The AFP source dismissed reports by Spanish daily Marca which said the player's family had blocked a potential move to Asia.

Marca said those close to Bale had asked his representatives to look for clubs in Europe "before definitively saying yes to Jiangsu Suning's offer".

The Chinese transfer window closes on Wednesday.

In his six years in the Spanish capital, Bale has won four Champions League titles and a La Liga winners' medal, as well as the King's Cup in 2014.

Bale scored three goals, plus a penalty in a shoot-out, in four Champions League finals for Real as they won the competition in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

But he has never endeared himself to the fickle Bernabeu faithful, who have booed him on several occasions over the years.

He has also not endeared himself to his teammates, and was reportedly nicknamed "The Golfer" for preferring to play golf instead of joining his teammates for social activities.

AFP

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2019, with the headline 'Bale's China move blocked by Real'. Print Edition | Subscribe