Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United hopes dashed as Madrid seek to assure Bale of a golden future

By Carl Markham

Gareth Bale has been told that he is the future of Real Madrid and head coach Zinedine Zidane has publicly defended his recent form, in news that will come as a blow to Manchester United.

Earlier this week, news broke that Bale was willing to move to Manchester United should Real Madrid decide to sell him this summer.

The long-mooted big-­money transfer was still subject to a few issues, but sources from both clubs said that a deal was "much likelier" than at any point in Bale's time at the Bernabeu.

However, in news that will come as a blow to United, Real Madrid have sought to assure Bale of his place in the team for the 2017/18 season.

It is understood that the club's board have assured him he is the future of the team, while Zidane defended the forward in a recent press conference.

"I see Bale in good shape physically," said Zidane of Bale, who missed much of the last campaign with a series of muscular injuries.

"It's the first time I've had him with me for a full pre-season. It's not important who scores or doesn't in pre-season games."

United are keen to sign at least one more high-profile player before the summer transfer window ends, but have been frustrated in their attempts to recruit a number of targets.

Antoine Griezmann was their primary target, but United have found the situation difficult and have gone back and forth in terms of alternative options.

It also remains up in the air whether Griezmann will even leave Diego Simeone's side this summer.

Independent News Service

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