José Mourinho has said he will fight for Gareth Bale’s signature if Real Madrid do not want him, with the Manchester United manager saying the forward’s inclusion in Real’s side for Tuesday’s Super Cup will indicate whether he is in their plans.
United have a long-standing interest in Bale, while Real are reported to be continuing to negotiate with Monaco over the 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappé.
Asked about trying to buy Bale, Mourinho said: “Well if he’s playing tomorrow, no. It’s because he’s in the coach’s plans and because he also has that motivation to continue at Real.
“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. But if he plays tomorrow, that is the best confirmation he is wanted by the team.”
Skopje is caught up in the heatwave affecting southern Europe. On Monday temperatures climbed above 40C and it is expected to be around 32C at 9pm local time for the kick-off.
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.”
Zinedine Zidane was asked three times about Bale’s future. “Bale is a Real Madrid player, that is all I can say,” the Real manager said. “All I want to talk to you about is the 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.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010