Jose Mourinho ready to fight for Gareth Bale’s signature
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane noncommittal on Welsh man’s future at club
Manchester United’s Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images
José Mourinho has said he will “fight” for Gareth Bale’s signature if Real Madrid do not want him, with the Portuguese predicting that the forward’s inclusion in Zinedine Zidane’s side to face Manchester United in Tuesday’s European Super Cup final will indicate whether or not he is in their plans.
United have a long-standing interest in Bale, and Mourinho is ready to try to land the 28-year-old should he become available, with Real Madrid reported to be continuing to negotiate with Monaco over a fee for Kylian Mbappé along with Paris Saint-Germain.
The Europa League winners play Champions League holders Real at Skopje’s Philip II Stadium hoping to claim the trophy for a second time in their history and Mourinho is intrigued to see what part the Welsh man plays for their opponents.
Asked on Monday about trying to buy Bale, he said: “Well, if he’s playing tomorrow, no I wouldn’t think of that. It’s because he’s in the coach’s plans and the club’s plans, because he also has that motivation to continue at Real Madrid. So I haven’t even thought about the possibility.
“If he is not in the club’s plans, that with the arrival of another player would mean he was on his way out, I will try to be waiting for him on the other side and fight with other coaches that would want him on their team. But if he plays tomorrow, that is the best confirmation that he is wanted by the team.”
Zidane, Real’s head coach, was asked three times about Bale’s future, the last occasion positing whether it would be “crazy” to think he will not be at the club when the window closes on September 1st. “Bale is a Real Madrid player, that is all I can say,” the French man said. “All I want to talk to you about is tomorrow’s match and we have a real important match, we are here, he is here for tomorrow’s match. That stuff doesn’t interest me too much.”
On Mourinho’s comments, Zidane added: “What is important is that the player is well, he is feeling well and on top of that has had lots of continuous training sessions with us. At the end of the season for him it wasn’t easy. He was almost four months off the team injured. Now I see him very well and concentrated. He trains with the team. What is important for us is not what the coach said, it is what we are going to do tomorrow, that is all.
“It’s the same with Cristiano [Ronaldo], we also have had stories there. I don’t know how to say it in Spanish, but some people seem to want to blow a story up beyond proportion.”
The Macedonian capital is caught up in the heatwave affecting southern Europe. On Monday temperatures soared above 40 degrees and it is expected to be about 32 degrees on Tuesday at 9pm local time for kick-off.
Of the climate, Mourinho said: “I knew the weather was like this. Since returning from the States [on tour], I decided to train in Manchester every day at 4pm to give the feeling of heat, but it was raining every day! Even for Real it has to be hard, though they are more adapted. Maybe they’ll have a break for some water but we have to try to play against the European champions.”
– Guardian service