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Gareth Bale's days at Real Madrid appear to be numbered after head coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed the club are working on a transfer for the forward.

Zidane was billed a "disgrace" by Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett, who has previously confirmed the coach and player have a fraught relationship, with the Frenchman seemingly not valuing Bale's ability despite his contribution to three consecutive Champions League titles.

It was Bale's double that sealed Madrid's last European crown a year ago, a stunning overhead kick contributing to a 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in Kiev that proved Zidane's last match in charge - soon after he announced his shock resignation.

But Zidane is back and seemingly set on selling Bale, so what are the options available to the Wales international now the Madrid coach has clearly signalled he has no place for him?

 

TOTTENHAM

The romantic option, a return to Tottenham would enable Bale to play first-team football and slot back into a club where he became a global superstar. Finances would surely scupper a permanent move although Spurs have smashed their club record to buy Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and are reportedly considering doing so again to sign Giovani Lo Celso from Real Betis. An initial loan has been mooted but Madrid would still likely have to cover a large portion of Bale's massive wages - how desperate are they to move him on? Bale would certainly improve Mauricio Pochettino's forward options and a front three of Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Bale looks incredibly strong on paper.


MANCHESTER UNITED

Bale has long been linked with United, but their failure to qualify for the Champions League does not make them an attractive option for top-level players right now although they remain among the world's biggest clubs. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also indicated he is willing to put his faith in young players such as the talented teenager Mason Greenwood, who has impressed in pre-season to force his way into first-team contention at Old Trafford despite being just 17. Bale would be an upgrade on United's wing options but they seem to be going in a different direction with the arrivals of Dan James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka signalling a long-needed change in transfer policy. Madrid's reported interest in Paul Pogba could see Bale offered to United as part of a potential deal, though.


PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

If PSG lose Neymar - the club confirmed recently he wants to leave - they will have room for another elite talent and Bale might just fit the bill. Whether moving to what is essentially a one-team league due to PSG's financial firepower is attractive to the Welshman is unclear, but teaming up with a thrilling talent like Kylian Mbappe could be persuasive. PSG are also one of a very small number of teams who could pay Bale the wages he has become accustomed to earning in Madrid and he has plenty of experience of winning the Champions League, which remains PSG's goal.


CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE

According to the bookmakers, Bale's most likely next destination is the Chinese Super League. Finances are again the key here, although CSL clubs have shown a reduced willingness over the last 12 months to pursue the most expensive players on the market due to a change in the league's regulations, which means they must pay considerable taxes on top of large transfer fees. Bale has been unable - or perhaps unwilling - to learn Spanish while in Madrid so it would be interesting to see how he would fare with the culture clash in China.


STAY AT REAL MADRID

Reports in Spain previously claimed Bale is happy to see out his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, which still has three years to run. It would be a tempting option given no other clubs are likely to match his pay packet, while the lack of stability in the dugout could play in his favour. Zidane was Madrid's third permanent head coach last term and failed to inspire any significant improvement in the latter weeks of the 2018-19 campaign. Although the Frenchman has considerable credit from his trio of consecutive Champions League titles, it is not impossible to see Madrid starting the season poorly and president Florentino Perez opting for yet another change of head coach. Another man in charge could see Bale as an asset so the 30-year-old may choose to stay put for now.

Filipe Luis has confirmed his departure from Atletico Madrid after eight seasons with the LaLiga club.

The Brazil international delayed a decision on his club future until after the Copa America and both parties have now agreed not to extend his contract, which expired at the end of June.

Atleti have overhauled their squad since the end of last season and though he had been open to the prospect of another campaign under Diego Simeone, Filipe Luis agreed the time has come for a change.

"We had a conversation and decided this is best for the club and for me," Filipe Luis said at his farewell announcement on Sunday.

"The relationship is great, the doors are open. We waited for the right moment to announce it. We both have a clear conscience.

"I made myself available for whatever was needed. We decided that it was best to go our separate paths."

The left-back praised his successor and compatriot, Renan Lodi, as the best Brazil had to offer in his position.

After more than a decade in Europe, which included a season at Chelsea in between his two stints with Atleti, Filipe Luis now appears set to return to his homeland.

Flamengo are reportedly in pole position to secure the 33-year-old's signature.

"I have not signed any contract," he said. "I will make the decision in the next few days.

"I have been a Flamenguista since I was young. Leaving Atletico is not an easy decision to make, but I want to end my career in Brazil

"Some things are missing. We are conversing. You always have to listen to Flamengo."

Barcelona's side for the 2019-20 campaign is like a "cheat code in a video game", according to new signing Antoine Griezmann.

The French World Cup winner joined the LaLiga giants this month after they triggered his €120million release clause with Atletico Madrid.

He joins a team rich in attacking talent and is likely to line up alongside a combination of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho in what promises to be a mouth-watering frontline in the forthcoming season.

Griezmann is excited about linking up with his new team-mates and says entertaining the club's supporters is a primary motivation.

"Barcelona are building a team like a cheat code in a video game," he told Marca.  

"We have a good team, great players and then it's the boss that has to decide who plays.

"We'll be ready to enjoy ourselves and make the fans and ourselves happy at all times."

Griezmann was particularly fulsome in his praise of Messi and vowed to strive to reach the dizzying standards set by the Argentina superstar.

"Yes, it will be amazing [to play alongside him]," he added. "I'm excited to see what he's like day to day, what he's like in training.

"I want to catch him doing things in training that I will try to repeat or do in my own way and get to know him on and off the pitch.

"I will be ready to do whatever it takes: for him, for the club and for the players."

Atleti fans are aggrieved by Griezmann's switch to their rivals, which came a year after he had pledged his future to the club, but the 28-year-old insists he will always hold fond memories of his time with Diego Simeone's side.

"I know that there will be whistles [when he returns to the Wanda Metrpolitano]," he added. "It's part of football. They really loved me and when someone leaves, it can hurt.

"It was like that at Real Sociedad. My first visit back wasn't easy, but I will always have Sociedad and Atleti in my heart because they gave me so much."

Gareth Bale's agent has branded Zinedine Zidane "a disgrace" and insists the Wales winger will only leave Real Madrid on his own terms.

Zidane revealed Madrid are working on selling Bale after omitting the four-time Champions League winner from the squad that lost to Bayern Munich in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.

"We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone," Madrid's head coach said.

The comments have not gone down well with the Bale camp.

Bale has never shown much interest in leaving Madrid and still has three seasons left to run on his contract.

"Zidane is a disgrace to speak like that about someone who has done so much for Real," Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, told ESPN.

"If and when Gareth goes it will be because it is in the best interest of Gareth and nothing to do with Zidane pushing."

Bale has been linked to Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Tottenham during the close season.

Barnett this week dismissed the latter link as "rubbish" amid doubts over Spurs' ability to compete financially.

Few clubs in Europe appear capable of meeting Madrid's asking price and Bale's likely wage demands, complicating LaLiga side Madrid's hopes of negotiating his exit. 

However, Zidane said: "We are working on his transfer to a new team."

Renato Sanches is content to adhere to Niko Kovac's instruction by remaining at Bayern Munich, so long as he gets opportunities to play.

Restricted to four Bundesliga starts last season, midfielder Sanches boosted his case for first-team opportunities with a strong showing in the 3-1 victory over Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup (ICC).

The Portugal international helped Bayern established superiority during the opening 45 minutes and could take on a more prominent role following the end of James Rodriguez's two-season loan deal.

Speaking ahead of the Madrid match, Kovac confirmed the club had told Sanches to forget about finding new employers, advice that has been heeded by the player.

"I'm ready to stay," Sanches told Bild.

"I had good talks with the coach and [club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge]. I think I will stay. Kovac is the boss, he makes the decisions.

"As long as I play, I'm happy."

Bayern have one final ICC fixture to come against AC Milan, though Jerome Boateng will not be involved as he returns to Munich for personal reasons.

The centre-back, another player that seemed headed for the exit towards the end of the 2018-19 season, impressed against LaLiga giants Madrid, keeping Eden Hazard and company goalless until the 84th minute.

Club captain Manuel Neuer welcomed the increasing likelihood of Boateng and Sanches staying in Bavaria.

"We all played well today, Renato as well as Jerome," goalkeeper Neuer said after seeing off Los Blancos in Houston.

"We know what these players are capable of and we're of course happy if they stay."

Christian Eriksen put some of Europe's biggest clubs on alert when he declared he would "like to try something new" and now it seems the Tottenham star could make a surprise move.

Initial speculation suggested that Real Madrid would make a move for the talented Spurs playmaker.

As the 2019-20 season draws ever closer, however, it could be that another Spanish giant – and neighbours of Real Madrid – steal a march in the quest to land the Denmark international.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETI AND TOTTENHAM IN ERIKSEN TALKS

Atletico Madrid have enjoyed a productive transfer window – despite losing Antoine Griezmann, Rodri and Diego Godin – and could be set to swoop for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen.

The Dane has spent six seasons with the north London club but is ready for a new challenge and could join former team-mate Kieran Trippier in the Spanish capital.

AS reports that the two clubs have started discussions over a fee for the 27-year-old, with Spurs likely to demand in excess of €70million.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain have found their target if Neymar gets his desired move away from the Parc des Princes. According to RMC Sport, Juventus midfielder Paulo Dybala is PSG's top option if Neymar leaves.

- James Rodriguez is linked with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Napoli, and Real Madrid want around €40m for the playmaker, according to Marca.

- David de Gea will become the world's highest paid goalkeeper. The Manchester United shot-stopper has agreed to a six-year deal worth around £117m with the Premier League giants, according to The Telegraph.

- Arsenal could land Moise Kean from Juventus, but only if any deal includes a buy-back clause. The Daily Mail say Juve will insist on a £36m (€40.1m) clause in a possible deal involving the forward.

- Danny Rose is widely expected to leave Tottenham this close season, with numerous clubs linked with the left-back. Now, the Mirror report Serie A champions Juventus are the frontrunners to sign the defender.

- After Aaron Wan-Bissaka's move to Manchester United, Crystal Palace may have found their replacement. The Daily Mail report Palace have held further talks over a potential deal for Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne.

Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale is close to leaving Real Madrid after he was left out of Saturday's International Champions Cup clash against Bayern Munich.

Bale has been deemed surplus to requirements by head coach Zidane and the Welsh star was absent as Madrid lost 3-1 to Bayern in Houston.

The 30-year-old, who has three seasons remaining on his contract, has been linked to former club Tottenham, Manchester United and Bayern.

And Bale's future is close to being resolved, with Zidane determined to sell the Wales international sooner rather than later.

Asked why Bale was left out of the squad on Saturday, Zidane told reporters: "Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving.

"We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team."

"I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done, I have to make decisions, we have to change," he added.

"The exit is the coach's decision, and also of the player, who knows the situation.

"The situation will change, I do not know if in 24 or 48 hours, but it will, and it's a good thing for everyone."

Antoine Griezmann said he cried tears of joy after his transfer to LaLiga champions Barcelona was finalised.

Griezmann left Atletico Madrid for Barca after the Spanish giants triggered the French World Cup winner's €120million release clause.

The transfer ended months of speculation following Griezmann's announcement that he was departing Atletico after five years.

Reflecting on his move to Barca, Griezmann told Marca: "I called my father and I started to cry with happiness because I was there, everything was done.

"I was with my friends, my wife and my children and it was an incredible moment."

"I just wanted to end my holiday and start this new challenge," he said. "The dressing room have welcomed me very well: players, coaching staff and doctors.

"For the moment, I'm enjoying it and let's hope I can get enough confidence to speak, be myself and enjoy."

Griezmann will link up with Barca superstar and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi at Camp Nou.

Messi led the way for Barca in 2018-19, scoring 51 goals in all competitions as Ernesto Valverde's side retained their LaLiga crown ahead of Griezmann's Atletico.

"It will be amazing [to play alongside him]," Griezmann added. "I'm excited to see what he's like day to day, what he's like in training, [I want to] catch him doing things in training that I will try to repeat or do in my own way and get to know him on and off the pitch.

"I can't wait for him to arrive. I will be ready to do whatever it takes: for him, for the club and for the players."

Atletico Madrid won 3-0 at Numancia in their first game since Antoine Griezmann's controversial move to Barcelona, but the striker's replacement Joao Felix was substituted due to injury.

Diego Simeone started with five debutants, including the teenage forward, for Saturday's trip to Estadio Municipal de Burgo de Osma.

But, after taking an early blow on his right hip, the €126million signing limped off the pitch in the 26th minute and went straight down the tunnel.

New signings Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso, Renan Lodi and Marcos Llorente also started while Joao Felix's replacement Angel Correa hit the post shortly before half-time.

Having made wholesale changes at the break, including sending on another new defender, Felipe, Atletico took the lead in the 69th minute.

Substitute Rodrigo Riquelme delivered a deep cross from the right wing that Vitolo tried to meet with a diving header, the ball appearing to bounce in off his left arm.

Ivan Saponjic, who like the club's record signing Joao Felix has joined from Benfica ahead of the 2019-20 season, then made it 2-0 to the visitors.

Neat build-up play led to Toni Moya freeing Manuel Sanchez on the left wing, with his centre coolly converted by Serbian striker Saponjic for his first Atletico goal.

Atletico had finally found their rhythm and they scored a third goal with six minutes to go, Felipe celebrating another debut goal for the Rojiblancos with impressive acrobatics.

Paris Saint-Germain have not received a "concrete offer" for Neymar, the club's sporting director Leonardo said.

The Brazilian forward has been heavily linked with a move away from the Ligue 1 champions during the close season, with his former club Barcelona looking the most likely destination.

Neymar has yet to feature for PSG so far during pre-season and was again absent as Thomas Tuchel's side laboured to a 1-1 draw with Nurnberg on Saturday.

Leonardo has previously said the 27-year-old can leave for the right price, but he told reporters after the game in Germany that no offers have been tabled for him.

"Honestly, there is nothing different from the last time we talked," he said, according to Le Parisien. "Nothing at all.

"It has not moved. There is no concrete offer for Neymar, he is with us. He is a player for Paris Saint-Germain.

"I repeat, there is no concrete offer. It's been the same situation for 10 days."

Tuchel refused to be drawn on where Neymar's future lies, two years after becoming a world-record buy, insisting he remains part of the French club's squad.

"The situation between Neymar and me is clear; it's now something between him and the club," the PSG boss said.

"He is part of the dressing room and will train with us tomorrow."

Atletico Madrid won 3-0 at Numancia in their first game since Antoine Griezmann's controversial move to Barcelona, but the striker's replacement Joao Felix was substituted due to injury.

Diego Simeone started with five debutants, including the teenage forward, for Saturday's trip to Estadio Municipal de Burgo de Osma.

But, after taking an early blow on his right hip, the €126million signing limped off the pitch in the 26th minute and went straight down the tunnel.

New signings Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso, Renan Lodi and Marcos Llorente also started while Joao Felix's replacement Angel Correa hit the post shortly before half-time.

Having made wholesale changes at the break, including sending on another new defender, Felipe, Atletico took the lead in the 69th minute.

Substitute Rodrigo Riquelme delivered a deep cross from the right wing that Vitolo tried to meet with a diving header, the ball appearing to bounce in off his left arm.

Ivan Saponjic, who like the club's record signing Joao Felix has joined from Benfica ahead of the 2019-20 season, then made it 2-0 to the visitors.

Neat build-up play led to Toni Moya freeing Manuel Sanchez on the left wing, with his centre coolly converted by Serbian striker Saponjic for his first Atletico goal.

Atletico had finally found their rhythm and they scored a third goal with six minutes to go, Felipe celebrating another debut goal for the Rojiblancos with impressive acrobatics.

Joao Felix had his Atletico Madrid debut cut short by injury as Diego Simeone's side opened pre-season away to Numancia.

The forward, a €126million signing from Benfica, was named in Simeone's starting lineup for Saturday's trip to Estadio Municipal de Burgo de Osma.

But a hip injury meant Joao Felix had to come off in the first half with Angel Correa - linked with a move to AC Milan - replacing him.

Simeone also handed debuts to new defenders Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso and Renan Lodi while a fifth fresh face, Marcos Llorente, started in midfield.

Correa hit the post shortly before the half-time whistle ended an opening 45 minutes light on goalmouth action at either end.

Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has denied talks were opened with Antoine Griezmann in March, as has been claimed by Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann completed his long-awaited switch to Camp Nou last week and is expected to make his Barca debut on their pre-season tour of Japan.

Barca paid €120m for Griezmann but Atletico argue the fee they received should have been €200m as they claim the Catalan club were in talks with the striker before his release clause fell on July 1.

Griezmann announced his intention to leave Atletico in a social media video posted before the end of the LaLiga season, but the Rojiblancos say his move to Barca had been agreed some weeks earlier.

Reports in Spain have claimed the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has opened proceedings against Barcelona over the club's move for Griezmann but, in an interview with Le Parisien, Abidal said the move for the France forward was above board.

He said: "The president [Josep Maria] Bartomeu got in touch with Atletico Madrid to discuss the terms of a transfer for Griezmann and to inform them, if negotiations weren't possible, that Barca would pay his €120m buyout clause. It was €200m in March and €120m in July..

"Atletico are defending their interests and we are defending Barca's. We never had a prior agreement with the player. We got in contact with his lawyer after Griezmann announced he wanted to leave the club.

"We can always talk about interest. We can like a player because our sporting department says they'd fit the profile of what we are looking for. But this interest only became concrete when the player expressed his wish to join Barca.

"He was a very important player for Atletico Madrid. He can make a difference in the big matches and is capable of playing in various positions. He's still a great goalscorer and Barca need players like him."

Despite adding Griezmann to a forward line already containing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Philippe Coutinho, Barca have been linked with making a sensational move for Neymar.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has confirmed the Brazil forward wants to leave the French capital with a return to Camp Nou two years after his world-record move said to be Neymar's preferred option.

Barca are reported to have offered PSG a choice of six players - including Coutinho, Dembele and Malcom - as makeweights but Abidal suggested the club's work in the transfer market could be complete.

"We needed six attacking players and, with Griezmann, we have those six," he added. "After that, it's the coach [Ernesto Valverde] who makes the decisions."

Messi is reportedly pushing for Neymar's return with the Barca captain said to be underwhelmed by Griezmann's arrival.

"That isn't Messi's role," Abidal added. "If he gives his opinion on someone who players for another team, it's disrespectful to his current team-mates. I believe that's why Leo didn't want to talk about Antoine."

New Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has welcomed speculation that Neymar could make a dramatic return to the LaLiga champions.

De Jong, 22, was signed by Barca from Ajax in January for a reported €75million, but only made the move at the end of the season.

Neymar has reportedly told Paris Saint-Germain that he wants to leave the club during the close season, two years after his world-record €222million transfer from Barca.

The Catalan club appear to be keen on bringing the Brazilian superstar back to Camp Nou and De Jong says he would relish the opportunity to play alongside him.

"Of course I would like to play with Neymar," he told Sport. "I think he's a really good player but it isn't up to me to decide if he comes to Barcelona or not."

De Jong will be tasked with supplying a mouth-watering attack in the 2019-20 season, led by Lionel Messi, and the Netherlands international is looking forward to teaming up with a player he considers to be the very best.

"I think he's the best player in the world," he said. "I'm looking forward to playing with all the guys, not only with Messi."

Barca were linked with a move for De Jong's former Ajax team-mate, Matthijs de Ligt, but the 19-year-old opted to join Serie A champions Juventus.

De Jong says he would have loved De Ligt to have joined him at Barca but believes he has made a positive move.

Asked if he was disappointed by De Ligt's decision, De Jong said: "No, I'm not disappointed. Not at all. Of course, I'd be happier if he had decided to join Barcelona, but it's his decision and he made it with his family, his agent and girlfriend.

"I'm happy for him. He's made a great move. I would rather see him at Barcelona but Juventus is a good move for him."

Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and Ivan Rakitic have all been included in Barcelona's pre-season tour squad despite speculation they have been offered to Paris Saint-Germain.

The trio, as well as Malcom and Nelson Semedo, will head to Japan although reports have claimed they are among six Barca players who could be makeweights in a deal to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.

Philippe Coutinho, the sixth member of the group, is not included in a squad of 26 players named by Ernesto Valverde as he remains on holiday following the Copa America.

Lionel Messi is absent for the same reason, as are Uruguay striker Luis Suarez and Brazil midfielder Arthur, but Antoine Griezmann could make his Barca debut along with fellow new arrival Frenkie de Jong.

Neymar, meanwhile, is not in PSG's squad for Saturday's pre-season game against Nurnberg despite the forward saying he is almost 100 per cent fit after missing the Copa America due to an ankle injury.

PSG said the club will "take appropriate action" against the Brazil star after he failed to report to pre-season training on time, although Neymar's father said the Ligue 1 champions knew when he would be arriving.

Barca's first pre-season game ahead of the 2019-20 campaign is against Premier League side Chelsea in the Rakuten Cup on Tuesday.

Three days later, Barcelona face a reunion with former players David Villa and Andres Iniesta when they take on Japanese side Vissel Kobe.

The defending LaLiga champions will then kick off the new league season away to Athletic Bilbao on August 16.

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