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Gareth Bale: I'm happy to stay with Madrid at Bernabeu

By Paul Hirst

Gareth Bale insisted he is happy at Real Madrid after playing a starring role in the 2-0 win over former club Tottenham at the Audi Cup in Munich.

The Welshman has come in for some criticism from the fans in the Spanish capital since his £85.3million world-record move two years ago and has often been linked with a move to Manchester United.

Former Red Devils captain Bryan Robson has been one of the cheerleaders for a move to Old Trafford but, after scoring the second goal for Real last night, Bale made it clear he is still very settled in Spain.

"I am confident anyway, but it's great to have the support of the manager and the president and, hopefully, I can repay them now with goals and trophies," he said.

New Real boss Rafael Benitez deployed Bale in a central attacking role against Spurs and the former left-back believes that is where he can do his best work, although he faces serious competition from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

"I have spoken to the manager about playing through the middle," Bale added.

"I'm able to go out to the left, the right and the centre which is what I was doing at Tottenham and what I do at Wales, and that's where I play my best football so it's something I'm enjoying.

"It's my best position. I feel when I played for Tottenham I played my best football there. When I play for Wales I play there and play my best football.

"So, for me, that's my position and that's where I play my best. It's where I want to play."

Amid reports that Manchester United have failed with two £100m bids for a player who is already the most expensive in the world after his switch to Madrid two seasons ago, it seems Louis van Gaal's pursuit of the Welshman is almost certainly destined to fail.

The move into the central position, the early stages of his relationship with Benitez showing promise and the support of the club president all go a long way to making him happy in his surroundings. Not to mention the fact that he is himself developing into one of the major players in a squad that is already bristling with world-class talent.

And if the example of the last player to move from Real Madrid to Manchester United is anything to go by, Bale is definitely better off staying put.

Angel di Maria, who made that switch last summer, moved a step closer to joining Paris St Germain as the Argentina winger underwent a medical in Doha.

The Aspetar sports hospital in Qatar posted pictures on Twitter of Di Maria ahead of his medical.

The 27-year-old was given permission to fly to Qatar for talks with PSG officials after United agreed a €63million (£44.3million) fee with the French champions for the midfielder.

United signed Di Maria from Real Madrid for a British record £59.7million last summer, but after an encouraging start his form dipped drastically and he only started one of the final 10 games of last season.

The former Benfica winger was left unsettled after an attempted burglary on his Cheshire home in February.

Since then, Di Maria and his family have been living in a city-centre apartment in Manchester owned by former United defender Phil Neville.

Di Maria said as recently as June that he wanted to stay at United, but it became apparent that he had his heart set on a move to the French capital in the last couple of weeks.

The Argentinian was due to report for duty during the second leg of United's pre-season tour of the United States on July 25, but failed to show.

After United's 2-0 defeat to PSG in Chicago on Thursday, Laurent Blanc said both clubs were close to striking a deal for the player and he could make his debut in their Ligue 1 opener against Lille on Friday night.

Belfast Telegraph


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