According to the Daily Mail, Welsh star Gareth Bale is to stay put at the Santiago Bernabéu this summer.
Much maligned and the focus of criticism from the Spanish media and Real Madrid fans unsatisfied with his performances of late, somewhat inevitably, much has been made of the speculation suggesting that Gareth Bale could pack his bags and return to the Premier League this summer.
Not so according to the Daily Mail, who suggest that the Welsh star has absolutely no interest in listening to offers, with it his intention to prove his worth during what remains of the current season, then demonstrating next season that he's a player worth every penny of the record-breaking fee shelled out for his services.
However, that figure is inaccurate. This £75 million sum is actually his insurance policy valuation in the event he has to retire early from football, as cited by Spanish outlet, El Confidencial. The same newspaper has also reported on a number of occasions that Bale's actual release clause is set closer to a whopping £1 billion. A similar figure to the clause valuation of Cristiano Ronaldo.
In terms of valuations, depending on which sources you believe, Spanish press and Real Madrid TV reported Bale's original cost from Tottenham as being £77 million, whilst various UK press outlets reported it as being a world record at £85 million - such as the Times. Either way, Real Madrid supremo Florentino Pérez insisted on a confidentiality pact being signed with his Spurs counterpart, Daniel Levy, which means the true figure may never be known exactly.
It's perhaps fair to assume that if Real Madrid did show any willingness to sell Bale, they would want to recover a fee closer to what they paid for him. Florentino Pérez has made it patently clear though, that the Welshman has his full support and there's absolutely no intention to sell, despite the level of criticism from the media and fans, confident that his 'Galactico' signing will prove he's one of the best players in world football.
Backed squarely by his club, all Bale must do now is meet the eternally high expectations of the Spanish media and the Real Madrid supporters, who demand nothing but the best from all of their stars, along with a trophy cabinet full of silverware every season.
Like a lot of the criticism here in Spain for the 25-year-old, it's fair to say much of it has been over the top and somewhat extreme, though his valuation is always likely to remain a huge factor in any judgements cast on his abilities and performances. The Bernabéu stadium can be one of the most unforgiving footballing cauldrons in that regard. Covering his ears to the noise and responding with his undeniable quality is clearly the best approach.