Daily Express

Gareth may have fallen out with some things but he’s still in love with foot­ball


- By Dar­ren Lewis Sports · Soccer · La Liga (Spain) · United Kingdom · Tottenham Hotspur Football Club · Real Madrid F.C. · Madrid · Zinedine Zidane · London · Daniel Levy · Gareth Bale

YOU have to ad­mit he has a point.

We do not have too many foot­ballers in Bri­tain who have lifted four Cham­pi­ons League tro­phies – yet Gareth Bale ap­pears not to be get­ting the credit he so richly de­serves.

So, it is lit­tle won­der his agent Jonathan Bar­nett has come out fight­ing on his be­half.

Af­ter leav­ing Tot­ten­ham for Real Madrid in 2013 for a then- world record fee of £ 85mil­lion, Bale has lifted 12 ma­jor tro­phies, in­clud­ing two league ti­tles.

He is also the top- scor­ing Bri­tish player in La Liga – with 80 goals and 40 as­sists in 171 ap­pear­ances.

The fan­fare around his re­turn to Tot­ten­ham last week was far from un­jus­ti­fied. And yet Bar­nett felt forced to take it upon him­self to fight the Welsh for­ward’s cor­ner this week with a round of in­ter­views.

Pulling no punches – and per­haps in­tend­ing to sever his client’s ties with the Madrid club – he said: “Hope­fully the sub­ject [ of re­turn­ing to Real] won’t come up. He will be so suc­cess­ful at Tot­ten­ham he’ll want to stay and it will be a sim­ple deal to do the rest.

“This is the club he wants to play at. I don’t see any prob­lems if he wants another year.”

Bale has a one- year loan deal at Spurs, with the op­tion for a sec­ond that would take him to the end of his Real con­tract.

His last few sea­sons were rav­aged by in­juries, sec­tions of Real’s sup­port booed him while boss Zine­dine Zi­dane said it “would be best for ev­ery­one” if Bale left in July 2019.

Bar­nett said: “In my opin­ion, he wasn’t treated cor­rectly for some­body who has done so much for a great club.

“I think that things were wrong. It’s hard to put one finger on it but I think some­body who has achieved what he has achieved for a club, in seven years, should have been treated bet­ter. I don’t want to blame any­body or go into it. I think what the fans did was dis­grace­ful and the club didn’t help. That’s all I re­ally want to get into.

“For seven years ev­ery­body’s been say­ing, ‘ Gareth Bale doesn’t speak Span­ish’ – Gareth Bale speaks Span­ish!

“Ev­ery­body’s been say­ing, ‘ Gareth Bale doesn’t care about foot­ball’ – Gareth Bale loves foot­ball, he’s never fallen out with foot­ball.

“He may have fallen out with other things – but not play­ing foot­ball – and I hope back at Tot­ten­ham peo­ple will re­alise and stop talk­ing com­plete and ut­ter rub­bish.

“What I hope is he’ll get his love back for the game and play the way he can, but it’s up to him. And he’s not on trial any­where. He’s achieved more than any other, I think, Bri­tish foot­baller abroad, so I think he is fine.”

By con­trast, the 31- year- old Bale is still adored at Tot­ten­ham, although the Lon­don club’s fans will have to wait un­til the mid­dle of Oc­to­ber for him to make his de­but af­ter a knee prob­lem picked up on Wales duty.

Asked how the move came about, Bar­nett added: “Ba­si­cally it was a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween [ Tot­ten­ham chair­man] Daniel Levy and my­self where the sub­ject came up.

“I sug­gested it and Daniel was in­ter­ested. So, that’s ba­si­cally how it was done.

“No magic, just long chats. Daniel Levy’s been in­ter­ested in bring­ing Gareth back for a long time.

“There was al­ways a rea­son why it couldn’t hap­pen. Just this was the right mo­ment.”

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