Gareth Bale's situation at Real Madrid is "unsustainable" and a loan move would be the best solution, according to former club president Ramon Calderon.

Zinedine Zidane announced after the 3-1 International Champions Cup defeat to Bayern Munich that Bale did not play in the pre-season fixture because he was very close to leaving Los Blancos.

Madrid coach Zidane was forthright when discussing the Welshman's future at the Santiago Bernabeu, saying: "We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone."

Bale's former club Tottenham, Manchester United and Bayern Munich have all been linked with a move for the 30-year-old, though the Chinese Super League is believed to be his most likely destination.

Yet Calderon predicted the finances of any exit for Bale will prove difficult to negotiate and said he would favour a temporary departure for the forward, though he acknowledged such an option is unlikely.

"I think it's unsustainable for everyone, for the player, the coach and the club. Zidane discarded him a long time ago. He said he wanted to keep Cristiano [Ronaldo] and to sell Bale [and] the president didn't follow that advice, so that's why he left the club [in May 2018]," Calderon told Sky Sports.

"When he came back he was promised Bale won't be there in the future. Maybe the comments weren't really appropriate, but I think what he showed is he's fed up with the situation. The best thing to do is find a solution.

"No top player, and he's one of them for sure, wants to be on the bench, they want to play. I'm sure he would like to play for Wales and mainly he'd like to be playing, it doesn't matter where [but] I suppose in a big club.

"What is true is that no offers have come. That's another problem. They are talking about Chinese clubs. They have the problem that when paying the transfer fee, with a new rule, you also have to pay the same money to the federation, so that doubles the transfer fee.

"I think in this case the best solution would be a loan, but no one is willing to do that. With the high salary he's got, and also the club trying to get a transfer fee, the solution is very difficult."

On whether Madrid have handled the situation appropriately, Calderon said: "I don't think so.

"When these things happen you have to act quickly. I know one year ago we received an offer of around €100million and we didn't accept it because the president thought that being his star, the one he signed, he should be here and perhaps the manager didn't know how to take advantage of his qualities.

"Maybe it's true, but when you have a coach that says he doesn't want to keep a player you have to look for a solution."

Jasper Cillessen had grown tired of sitting on the bench at Barcelona and does not view his move to Valencia as a backward step.

Valencia shelled out €35million in June to sign Cillessen, who spent three seasons at Barca acting as back-up to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The 30-year-old Netherlands international made just 12 appearances in all competitions for the Catalan giants last season and believes the transfer is a positive move for him at this stage of his career.

"I have not had problems with Barcelona or with any team. For me, the most important thing is to play. It's the only reason I'm here," Cillessen told Marca.

"For me to come to Valencia is not a step back. Between being on the bench of Barcelona or playing at Valencia, playing at Valencia is much better. It is easy. It is not a step back.

"When I arrived at Barcelona, Ter Stegen was on a different level than now. And after three years he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

"I think we both improved, but it was time for me to leave."

Valencia are reportedly interested in Barca midfielder Rafinha and Cillessen hopes the Brazilian, who has been out of action since November due to a serious left knee injury, follows him in heading to Mestalla.

The Dutchman said of Rafinha: "He is a very good player, he has had very bad luck with injuries. But he is a great player, it would be very important here with this system and for the coach.

"He is my friend and I want him to come here."

Neymar and Gareth Bale have been locked in something of a transfer impasse in recent weeks - but it appears there could be a solution.

According to the Independent, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar's representatives are trying to push through a deal that would see the Brazil star move to the Santiago Bernabeu, with Bale and money moving the other way.

Manchester United are not thought to be interested in either player, but their pursuit of Harry Maguire may, at last, be coming to an end.

 

TOP STORY - NEYMAR AND BALE PROPOSED IN SWAP DEAL

Neymar is said to be "desperate" to leave Paris Saint-Germain and ideally return to Spain, but his options have so far seemed limited, with Barcelona and Real Madrid either unable or unwilling to stump up for the transfer.

Meanwhile, Gareth Bale has been told by head coach Zinedine Zidane that it would be best for him to leave, but suitors appear hard to come by for the Wales international.

The Independent claims this has prompted some of Neymar's camp to explore the prospect of the forward joining Madrid in a deal involving money and Bale heading to PSG.

The idea is that it would solve some of the concerns around transfer fees that have stalled moves for each player and allow the two teams to sign ready-made stars to replace the ones they are losing.

ROUND-UP:

Manchester United's chase for a centre-back could nearly be over, with the Independent claiming a deal to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City is "imminent".

Manchester City could yet intervene but, according to the Sun, they would have to sell Nicolas Otamendi or Eliaquim Mangala to afford England international Maguire.

- If Bale does not become part of a Neymar swap deal, he could end up in China – the Mirror claim he has been offered a contract worth £1million per week to join Beijing Guoan.

- Having agreed personal terms, Andre Silva is close to moving to Monaco, which would free up AC Milan to sign Atletico Madrid's Angel Correa, both Sky Sport Italia and Sport Mediaset claim.

Napoli have been chasing James Rodriguez but might now go instead for Lyon captain Nabil Fekir, according to RMC Sport and L'Equipe.

- Another Madrid player tipped for an exit, Dani Ceballos, has been told to choose between Arsenal and Tottenham for his season-long loan, AS say.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus could sell either Merih Demiral or Daniele Rugani following Matthijs de Ligt's arrival. Demiral, who only just arrived from Sassuolo, has been linked to AC Milan. Roma are reportedly interested in Rugani.

Filipe Luis said he hopes Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar returns to LaLiga champions Barcelona for the good of Brazilian football.

Neymar wants to leave Ligue 1 holders PSG, with a move back to former club Barca on the cards two years on from his world-record €222million exit.

Real Madrid are another possible destination for Neymar, whose future is dominating headlines during the off-season.

While Filipe Luis would like to see his Brazil team-mate return to Camp Nou, the former Atletico Madrid full-back acknowledged it will not be easy.

"I want him to finish in Barcelona," Filipe Luis told Cope's Tiempo de Juego program.

"At Barca, Neymar is happy. I want him to enjoy and play next to [Lionel] Messi.

"I hope, for the good of Brazilian football, that Neymar returns to Barca, but I think it will not be easy."

Filipe Luis was speaking having confirmed his departure from Atletico following eight seasons with the LaLiga side.

The 33-year-old – who started his career at Figueirense – is reportedly set to return to Brazil via Flamengo on a free transfer.

It has been a busy off-season for Atletico, who have lost Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernandez, Rodri and Diego Godin but signed Joao Felix, Hector Herrera, Marcos Llorente, Kieran Trippier, Felipe and Renan Lodi.

Atletico have also been linked with Real Madrid and Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez, who is wanted by Serie A side Napoli.

Filipe Luis added: "Having a player like James at Atletico would be very interesting, it would not be bad. Whoever comes will help but signing James would be spectacular."

Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui said Joris Gnagnon was "very, very worried" after his horror challenge left Liverpool teenager Yasser Larouci on a stretcher.

Sunday's friendly in Boston – won 2-1 by Sevilla – was marred by Gnagnon wildly kicking out at 18-year-old Liverpool left-back Larouci.

Sevilla defender and second-half substitute Gnagnon, who issued an apology post-game, was shown a straight red card with 14 minutes remaining, while Larouci required lengthy treatment at Fenway Park.

"[Gnagnon] was very, very worried and knows it could have been a bad injury," Lopetegui said.

"I am worried about the player [Larouci] but I asked Jurgen [Klopp] and he said the player is okay, it isn't a bad injury and I am happy for that.

"That's the most important thing. The referee thought it was a red card and I haven't seen a replay but it's possible it was a red card."

Larouci reportedly left the stadium on crutches following a fiercely contested pre-season fixture, with Liverpool on the receiving end of some tough tackles.

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk was infuriated by Gnagnon's actions and he added: "I saw it from the side and it's not nice.

"Especially when it happens against a young guy who is playing pretty well this season, it's not great to see. I think it says something about him [Gnagnon]."

James Milner was scathing of Joris Gnagnon's "disgraceful" challenge on Yasser Larouci that marred the friendly between Liverpool and Sevilla.

Gnagnon was shown a straight red card for a horrendous tackle on Liverpool teenager Larouci, who was forced to leave the field on a stretcher in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Sevilla.

Sevilla defender and second-half substitute Gnagnon wildly kicked out at the 18-year-old with 14 minutes remaining in Boston, where tempers flared.

Gnagnon apologised post-match but Milner told LFCTV: "Was it too much? I thought so yes, it was a disgraceful tackle.

"We know it's only a friendly, but I mean, you don't see many red cards in friendlies, do you?

"Their guy said it is down to the referee and it's a tackle and a foul, but it's very disappointing. We [responded] in the right way.

"It is a tough one for the referee because you don't want to use red cards in friendlies and it is a rare thing to see.

"It's not easy to get hold of the game, you don't normally see too many tackles [like Gnagnon's] but it is a disgrace really."

Larouci reportedly left Fenway Park on crutches after Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool succumbed to Alejandro Pozo's 90th-minute winner.

Sevilla's Joris Gnagnon issued an apology to Yasser Larouci after his horrendous challenge left the Liverpool youngster on a stretcher.

Sevilla defeated Liverpool 2-1 in Sunday's pre-season friendly in Boston, where the fixture was overshadowed by Gnagnon's shocking tackle on Larouci.

Gnagnon – a second-half substitute – was shown a straight red card with 14 minutes remaining after wildly kicking out at Larouci, who required lengthy treatment before the 18-year-old was taken away on a stretcher.

Amid fierce backlash, Sevilla defender Gnagnon apologised to Larouci and Liverpool post-match.

"I would like to publicly apologise to Liverpool, the family of the player and the supporters," Gnagnon wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.

"It was a heinous act on my part for whatever reason and should not be seen on a football field. All my prayers are with the player and the family."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp provided an update on Larouci, who left Fenway Park in worrying scenes.

"[It's] much too early in the season to create headlines with saying the things I think about the situation," Klopp told reporters after Liverpool succumbed to Alejandro Pozo's 90th-minute winner.

"Let me say how the situation is with Yasser; it looks like he was lucky but, of course, how it always is with these things we have to wait a little bit. He couldn't keep on playing, so that's the first not-so-good sign but in the dressing room it was OK."

Klopp added: "He hit him full throttle and, in that moment, [if it was] a little bit different position where he hit him then it's done. He rolls… he is a sports boy so that was OK, nothing happened there.

"I don't know 100 per cent. It looks like he was lucky but I only spoke quickly to the doc and that's what he said, but we have to see."

Liverpool's friendly against Sevilla was marred by a shocking challenge on Yasser Larouci that forced the Reds youngster to leave the field on a stretcher in Boston.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool suffered a late 2-1 loss to Sevilla, but Sunday's result was overshadowed by Joris Gnagnon's horrendous tackle on Larouci.

In a feisty game at Fenway Park, Sevilla substitute Gnagnon was shown a straight red card with 14 minutes remaining after wildly kicking out at Larouci.

Larouci required lengthy treatment before the 18-year-old was taken away on a stretcher as tempers flared in the United States.

Despite Sevilla's numerical disadvantage, Julen Lopetegui's LaLiga side were victorious thanks to Alejandro Pozo's 90th-minute winner.

It came after Divock Origi had cancelled out Nolito's opener on the stroke of half-time with an emphatic close-range finish.

Carlo Ancelotti said Napoli are still negotiating a deal to prise James Rodriguez from Real Madrid as Atletico Madrid reportedly circle.

James has been linked with Napoli throughout the transfer window, but a deal reuniting the Colombia star and head coach Ancelotti is yet to materialise.

Atletico have emerged as a possible destination for James amid a deadlock in talks between Napoli and LaLiga giants Madrid.

Asked about Napoli's pursuit of James, Ancelotti told TV Luna: "I'm not aware of a deal with Atletico.

"We're still talking for James, a player that I really like. I'm very attached to James, I rate him very highly and he can certainly improve our team.

"He doesn't need to re-announce himself, he's a great player. But he's not the only player we're openly negotiating for. We're assessing many players."

While negotiations for James drag on, Napoli are close to signing Fenerbahce and Macedonia midfielder Eljif Elmas.

With Amadou Diawara now at Roma and Marko Rog poised for Cagliari, Napoli have turned to the 19-year-old Elmas as Ancelotti's men look to dethrone Serie A champions Juventus in 2019-20.

"We're very close and I hope a deal closes quickly. He's a very interesting player and we're defining the final details," Ancelotti added. "I hope he arrives before we leave Dimaro.

"We were looking for a player skilled at playing between the lines, and Elmas has a lot of quality.

"The squad is already very complete. We have to take a little step at a time. We're very close to the top.

"We'll be happy as of August 31. Napoli are working and nothing is impossible, but then there are the wants of the players or problems with the clubs or agents."

Mauricio Pochettino does not know if Tottenham have made a bid to sign their former player Gareth Bale from Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane revealed on Sunday that Madrid are working on selling the Wales international after omitting him from the squad that lost to Bayern Munich in the International Champions Cup (ICC) on Saturday.

Zidane seemed to indicate the club were in negotiations with a particular club, saying: "We are working on his transfer to a new team."

Newspaper reports on Sunday have suggested that Paris Saint-Germain are interested in a swap deal involving Neymar, while Pochettino – speaking after his side's 3-2 ICC win over Juventus – refused to rule out if his chairman Daniel Levy has tabled an offer for the 30-year-old.

"I saw the reports in the media but I don't know which club is trying to sign him," he told reporters.

"I don't have any information from my chairman; I don't know if it's us or another club. It's the job of my chairman."

Harry Kane struck a sensational stoppage-time winner from the halfway line as Pochettino's side opened up their pre-season campaign with a win over Juve in Singapore.

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."

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