October 26, 2020, 14:31

Gareth Bale: Tottenham forward says Jose Mourinho played a big part in his return

Gareth Bale: Tottenham forward says Jose Mourinho played a big part in his return

Gareth Bale has revealed the prospect of playing under Jose Mourinho was instrumental in his blockbuster return to Tottenham.

The 31-year-old sealed an emotional Spurs homecoming on Saturday in a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid, seven years after leaving for the Spanish giants in an £86m deal – a world-record fee at the time.

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Bale said he is looking forward to an attacking partnership with Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son after holding talks with Mourinho around his role on the pitch.

“He’s spoken to me about a few positions that he would like me to play and obviously I’m happy with that,” Bale told BT Sport.

“He was a big reason for me coming back here, he’s a household name and a winner. He’s the perfect fit for Tottenham. We need to win trophies and he knows how to do that better than anyone.”

He added: “Harry’s done incredibly well since he burst onto the scene and scored a lot of goals. To play with him and Son is an exciting prospect for all of us. If we’re all pushing in the same direction it could be a very exciting season.”

Jose Mourinho was in charge of Real Madrid when he met Gareth Bale at Spurs during the 2010/11 Champions League

Bale’s contentious exit from Real Madrid, where he won La Liga twice and the Champions League four times, was marked with a short statement from the club.

“Our club wishes the best of luck to a player who is part of one of the most successful periods of our history,” it read.

The Wales captain had a roller-coaster time in Spain, scoring vital goals for the club in cup finals but falling out of favour under head coach Zinedine Zidane.

However, despite a turbulent time, he says he holds no grudges.

“I’ve enjoyed it, I loved living there,” Bale said. “There’s ups and downs at every club, wherever you go. The highs have been incredibly high and the lows have been very low.

“I enjoyed achieving what we achieved but it’s time for the next chapter in my career. I want to continue to win trophies and I want to do it with Tottenham. I spoke to my wife and we felt like it was the right fit and the right time.”

New Tottenham signing Gareth Bale says it’s incredible to be back at the club, and that his main ambition is to win a trophy in his second spell

Despite the excitement caused by Bale’s return, the forward will not be able to return to action for at least a month after his medical confirmed a knee injury he picked up during international duty earlier in September.

That means his second Spurs debut may come in the Premier League game against West Ham on October 17 at the earliest.

“I need to get fully fit,” he said. “I haven’t trained since the Wales camp so I need to get on the training pitch. Hopefully I can hit the ground running in my first game, whenever that may be.”

Zinedine Zidane insists he’s never had a problem with Bale after the Welsh forward joined Tottenham on loan for the season

Will Bale fit in at Spurs?

Bale has enjoyed much of his success on the right wing and – despite those infamous White Hart Lane chants reminding Harry Redknapp that he ‘plays on the left’ – it is there that the 31-year-old forward would expect to be deployed on his return to the Premier League.

In the autumn of his career, those bursts of pace down the outside are likely to become more infrequent but Bale will surely retain the ability to cut inside and find enough space to fire off shots from distance with his favoured left foot – something that he does better than almost anyone.

In the final season of his first spell with Spurs, Bale scored no fewer than nine Premier League goals from outside the box – which was as many as the two next best players that season combined. Indeed, nobody has come close to matching that tally since.

Even after a season of relative inactivity, clubs are interested in that kind of firepower. Manchester United’s pursuit of Jadon Sancho indicates that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not yet ready to entrust the role on the right to Mason Greenwood alone and wants more than a mere deputy.

Read our full feature here to read why Bale chose Tottenham over Man Utd and if he can be a success in the Premier League again.

Highest of highs not enough to earn Real love

Sky Sports News’ reporter Ben Ransom in Madrid…

On Thursday, when Gareth Bale left the Real Madrid training ground for the final time, his departure was met with apathy by the dozen or so fans waiting at the gates for a glimpse of their heroes.

Compared with the clamour for Luka Modric to give them so much as a wave, it struck me how far Bale has fallen in the eyes of the public here.

Both players joined following standout seasons with Tottenham Hotspur, and both have played a key role in winning no less than four Champions League titles.

Bale scored 80 goals in 171 appearances with Real Madrid since joining in 2013

But the similarities end there, as one will forever be tarnished by his failure to fully embrace what it means to be a Real Madrid player.

I’ve heard much criticism of Bale during my stay here, from fellow media professionals and supporters alike, with the most common accusation being his failure to integrate himself into the Spanish culture during his seven-year stay.

Not learning the language has undoubtedly held Bale back here in the eyes of the public as he has never been able to fully connect with them, and vice versa.

No surprise then to hear anecdotes of him slowly becoming more insular as time has gone on and finding solace on the golf course.

That’s despite Bale continuing to delight on the pitch with moments of pure magic, such as the overhead kick against Liverpool in 2018, one of two goals that brought the European Cup back to the city for a 13th time.

Bale scored a memorable goal for Real in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool

Goals like that should have been career-defining, and perhaps one day the fans here will reflect upon all the good things Bale did for the club, rather than focus on the negatives.

Injuries have taken their toll and will almost certainly have caused the man himself every bit as much frustration as the club paying his wages.

An increasingly difficult relationship with Zinedine Zidane has reduced Bale’s playing time further, and there is an overwhelming feeling Zidane’s desire to get rid of the man who was once the world’s most expensive player is best for all parties.

I should add I’ve encountered little animosity for Bale. Many fans simply wish him well for the future, but in many ways that only reinforces the lack of passion within this relationship.

Despite a hugely expensive marriage, Los Blancos have never truly won Gareth Bale’s heart, perhaps a return to his former love in north London will unlock his passion for football once more.

Summer transfer window – key dates and times

The summer transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday October 5 with a feast of activity lined up on Transfer Deadline Day on Sky Sports News and across our Sky Sports platforms.

A domestic-only window for deals between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on SSN and across Sky Sports’ digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

Source: skysports.com

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