Gareth Bale missed Tottenham's opening encounter with an injury, but how certain is his future?
Real Madrid opened their La Liga account with a narrow 2-1 win over a plucky Real Betis side on Sunday evening, courtesy of a late winner from Isco.
Isco was signed by the club ending a drawn out transfer saga earlier this summer where he nearly left Malaga to sign for Manchester City instead.
One attacker whose Real Madrid links have been convoluted even longer is Gareth Bale.
The Welshman is the subject of a much discussed world record offer, but Real Madrid so far appear unable, or unwilling, perhaps a bit of both - to pay the £100 million plus Tottenham are asking.
So is that the end of it? Well almost. Spanish journalist Guillem Balague admits Spurs hold all the cards, but Madrid haven't quite given up yet.
He posted on twitter after the Madrid game that the club are hoping Bale will go on strike, but so far the player is unwilling to risk alienating himself at Tottenham.
RM wld like Bale 2 rebel. He wont. Spurs want him 2 stay 1 more yr. RM will try till the last day but less optimistic now #thisnotoveryet— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 18, 2013
The news - although hardly a surprise - Real Madrid will try until the last day suggests we could have a few more twists and turns. Spurs' apparent interest in Willian, linked strongly this evening, hints that the club are preparing for all eventualities.
If they have a replacement secured, could they lower their price slightly but still attract a world record fee? It's certainly going to be a dilemma, but Madrid's dwindling optimism indicates again, it really is up to Tottenham.
If Bale insists he is happy at Spurs, and returns to action in time for the North London derby in a fortnight, he may just be reminded why Tottenham is and should be his passion right now.
image: © Jan S0L0