Real Madrid transfer news: Neymar in and Gareth Bale out?
Head coach Santiago Solari laughs off rumours linking Jose Mourinho to his job
In an interview with Globo TV Brazilian superstar Neymar has done little to dampen speculation that he could soon be leaving Paris Saint-Germain.
Currently sidelined with injury, the 27-year-old has been linked with a return to Spain since the early weeks of his arrival in France in the summer of 2017 in a world-record £200m deal from Barcelona.
Real Madrid are the frontrunners to land Neymar and the question was put to the PSG striker during the interview in his native Brazil, reports talkSPORT.
“[Do] I want to play for Madrid? They are one of the biggest clubs in the world,” he said by way of response. “Any player linked with Real Madrid would feel attracted to play there.”
But Neymar, perhaps realising he had said too much, appeared to rapidly backpedal, stating: “For the love of God, I am not speaking about playing for Madrid, calm down! I feel happy in Paris, I am very well here, but in the future, nobody knows.
“It is obvious that Real Madrid are a great team, one of the best in the world, I have great respect for them but, today, I see myself in Paris.”
Today, but how quickly will tomorrow arrive? TalkSPORT claims that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is “desperate to sign Neymar”, and one way of raising the funds would be to offload Gareth Bale.
There has been a constant stream of negative stories about the Welshman emanating from the Bernabeu in recent weeks, leading some to believe the club is trying to force out the 29-year-old.
BBC Sport says that some Real fans jeered Bale during Saturday’s 1-0 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona and that has prompted an angry response from his agent, Jonathan Barnett.
“Frankly, they should be ashamed of themselves,” he said. “Gareth deserves the greatest of respect. The way Real fans have treated him is nothing short of a disgrace.”
Barnett also took a swipe at the rumours coming out of the club that he doesn’t attend social functions with the rest of the squad and speaks no Spanish.
“We’re fed up of fake stories that he’s leaving,” he said. “Despite what the Spanish press are reporting, he’s happy, he speaks reasonable Spanish and there is no problem between him and the rest of the Real players.
“The people writing these things know nothing about him. There has not been one single discussion about Gareth leaving Madrid. He isn’t going anywhere this summer. Despite what’s been reported, he’s content, he wants to stay at Real and they want him.”
‘More pretenders than Julia Roberts’
Former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has been recently linked with a return to the Bernabeu, but current boss Santiago Solari has laughed off the speculation, the London Evening Standard reports.
Solari, whose team play Ajax tonight in the Champions League last-16 second leg, said: “This club has always had more pretenders than Julia Roberts. It’s normal.”