Bale ‘angry’, wants to leave Real, BBC reports
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is “angry” and “fed up” at the Spanish giant and wants to leave the club, according to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Guillem Balague.
Bale had been set to join Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning on a three-year contract in the summer – earning a reported £1 million a week – but Real canceled the deal because it wanted a transfer fee, BBC Sport reported.
In July, Real manager Zinedine Zidane said “we hope he leaves soon”, a comment to which Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett replied, “Zidane is a disgrace – he shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid.”
Bale has won four Champions Leagues, one La Liga title, a Copa del Rey and three UEFA Super Cups and Club World Cups during his time at Real, scoring more than 100 goals.
After the collapse of his move to China, the 30-year-old Wales international pulled out of a preseason game in Munich – understood to be because he was not in the right mental state to play.
He has returned to the Real team this season, scoring twice in seven matches as it has moved to the top of La Liga.
But he was left out of the squad for last week’s Champions League game against Club Bruges, before returning to the starting lineup for the 4-2 win against Granada on Saturday.
“Gareth Bale is fed up,” said Balague.
“He can do this no longer. At a time when he began to stand out, knowing that as he plays matches his fitness would be sharpened, he suddenly had to watch the game against Bruges in the stands. Nobody knows why.
“He is angry, confused. When Zidane returned to the club, he decided he did not want Bale, without anyone having offered a clear reasoning.
“Bale was told that Zidane, with whom he has a professional relationship, had made an unequivocal decision and was preparing for his departure.
“His agent, Jonathan Barnett, set out to find him alternative options, but Bale preferred – ahead of any other possibility – to remain at the club.
“What the Welshman does not quite understand is why the doors were opened, and then they did not let him go. Madrid agreed not to charge a transfer fee to the Chinese side Jiangsu Suning, but ultimately they backed down because they believed that another Chinese team were willing to pay a large amount for James Rodriguez, a rumor that ended up being false.
“Bale has played well in recent weeks – partly because he is angry – in response to the distance and coldness with which the coach treats him, and he has finally rebelled at his situation.
“It is said that he likes golf more than football, and it is true that he does not live the profession with the intensity of others, either on or off the pitch.
“He only asks for minutes to be able to give his best and to be able to offer goals to the team, something they lack.
“Leaving him out of the game against Bruges is difficult to understand, and has been the last straw.
“For the first time since he arrived at Real Madrid in the summer of 2013, the Welshman wants to leave. He feels that it is not fair what is being done with him.”
Pochettino: I still have Levy’s support at Spurs
Mauricio Pochettino said that he still has “a very good relationship” with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, despite his side’s disappointing start to the season.
After their 3-0 defeat to Brighton at the weekend – a game in which, to make matters worse, Hugo Lloris sustained a serious elbow injury – Spurs have won two of their last five games in the Premier League and are currently ninth in the table, goal.com reported.
They also suffered an embarrassing defeat to Colchester on penalties in the Carabao Cup, while their Champions League campaign has begun with a frustrating draw against Olympiakos and a crushing 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Spurs are still coming to terms with life after last season’s Champions League final, where they lost 2-0 to Liverpool.
Having overachieved so spectacularly only for it all to crumble away at the last moment, Tottenham is still dealing with the psychological aftershock and also has several players in the squad – Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld, most notably – who came close to leaving in the aftermath.
There have also been some signs of friction between Pochettino and the club hierarchy over transfer policy in recent seasons, not least when Spurs went well over a year without signing anyone after the arrival of Lucas Moura in January 2018.
Speaking at the Aspire Academy global summit in Qatar on Monday, however, Pochettino suggested that he and Levy still share a strong mutual respect.
“We maintain a very good relationship and it is extraordinary to have that support,” he said.
“I have always told him that, in addition to my chairman, I consider him a friend.
“Football is not a drama, it is passion and we cannot separate it from emotions,” he went on, “but neither can we make a sport as fantastic as this one [all about] the latest result.
“We must learn from defeats to be able to exceed our limits and that begins by accepting that you don’t always win and that the opponent also works hard and [has] merits.
“You must always react with dignity to the result, regardless of whether it is good or bad.”
Three years on, Southgate’s stock still rising
It is three years to the day that Gareth Southgate took charge of his first England game and few of the 81,000 crowd who watched his side labor to a 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley would have staked too much on him enjoying a long reign.
The job had rather fallen into the hands of the former Under 21s coach after Sam Allardyce was sacked after 67 days in charge after being embroiled in an undercover newspaper sting, Reuters reported.
Southgate was initially installed as caretaker manager — a “safe pair of hands” to guide England through choppy waters following a humiliating exit to Iceland under former manager Roy Hodgson at the 2016 European Championship in France.
Fast forward three years and Southgate has transformed England from laughing stock to a vibrant, free-scoring side tipped as one of the favorites to win next year’s European Championship.
In 37 games in charge he has won 21, drawn nine and lost seven. More importantly he trusts young players, has encouraged an eye-pleasing and pacey style and has acted with dignity in victory and defeat. He has made England likeable again.
A man many said was “too nice” to be a success has become the most popular England manager since Terry Venables guided the national team to the semifinals of Euro 1996 on home soil.
England has scored 19 goals in four Euro 2020 qualifiers and faces the Czech Republic on Friday and Bulgaria three days later when few would expect anything other than two more emphatic wins to virtually assure its place in the finals.
A run to the World Cup semifinals was a welcome over-achievement but the buzz that engendered has been sustained and England’s fans are fully switched back on to the national team.
Where once it attracted derision and scorn, Southgate’s side has become a source of pride.
“The fact the team have connected back with our fans is the most pleasing aspect of the last few years,” he said as he prepared his players at St. George’s Park.
“It was important to me that we played with a style that our supporters enjoy watching. We knew there were some good young players coming through, which we’ve blooded and we’ve been ranked fourth or fifth in the world for the last 12 months because of consistently good performances.”
Under Southgate the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jadon Sancho and Declan Rice have all been fast-tracked into the first team, while Chelsea’s Mason Mount made his full debut against Bulgaria last month and teammate Tammy Abraham is in line to earn his first senior cap after being called up.
With the climax of next year’s tournament being staged in England there is genuine belief that Southgate’s men can surpass their performance in Russia last year, but the manager knows that there could still be bumps in the road.
“We’ve got a much bigger emphasis on youth so there’s still a lot for us to do,” Southgate said.
“The challenges never stop. Every month we go back through the games we’ve played and review what could be better and the areas we can improve on to be considered the best team in the world. There’s a lot of work to do in that regard.
“But we feel we’re still improving. I don’t think there’s been any regression, we’ve got to make sure we continue that.”
Ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger revealed he has turned down offers to return to management in the Premier League due to his ties with the Gunners, The Independent reported.
Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open
Former world number one Andy Murray will play at next year’s Australian Open in what will be his first Grand Slam singles appearance since undergoing hip surgery, organizers confirmed on Tuesday.
Murray, 32, who has finished runner-up at Melbourne Park five times, was knocked out in the first round at last year’s Australian Open having said before it started that it could be his last tournament, Reuters reported.
The Scot underwent a career-saving hip resurfacing procedure at the end of January and made his competitive return to tennis in the doubles at Queen’s Club in June, where he won the title with partner Feliciano Lopez.
“Confirmed: @andy_murray will return to compete at the #AusOpen in 2020,” Australian Open organizers said on Twitter, adding in a statement that the three-time major winner would be given a protected ranking of number two.
Murray, who is currently ranked 289th in the world, played in the doubles and mixed doubles at Wimbledon, partnering Serena Williams in the latter, and made his singles return in Cincinnati in August.
He reached the quarterfinals of the China Open in Beijing last week, losing to Dominic Thiem, and won his opening match at the ongoing Shanghai Masters on Monday.
Djokovic eyeing gold at Tokyo 2020
Novak Djokovic said he wants to go for gold at the Olympics in Tokyo next year as long as everything goes smoothly a Wimbledon beforehand.
The Serb has been widely touted to rival Roger Federer at Tokyo 2020 and said he is keen to be a part of the medal chase, Eurosport reported.
“There is a chance [I will play at the Olympics]. For example, Federer did not play in Rio,” Djokovic told reporters.
“Our season is long and we are full of new events.
“I will have to be healthy, my appearance in Japan will depend on Wimbledon results, the team schedule and my family.”
Djokovic won the Tokyo Open in his first appearance at the tournament last week and could have proven to be a suitable warmup for next year’s Olympics.
Djokovic added, “The surface suits my game and the venue is amazing.
“First of all, I try to be ready for Tokyo Olympics in great shape.
“Last time I was injured and not in good condition. I’d like to reach the final and go further than in Beijing.
“I’ll fight for the Gold medal. Olympics is always in my heart. It’s special to represent my country in historic sport event.”
“The tough loss has special place in my heart on and off the court.”