by Tim Stannard
Zidane says no interest in what happens with Bale off the pitch as footballer is set for Real Sociedad Saturday clash
“There has been a lot of noise around Bale,” sighed Zidane in the Real Madrid training ground press room on Friday, battening down the hatches and tying himself to the mast of truth as questions flew in concerning the Welshman and his “Wales. Golf. Real Madrid. In That order” flag.
Before the international break two weeks ago, Bale was the number one topic of conversation after Zidane hinted that the player was not overly keen on even training with Real Madrid but seemed quite happy to turn out for Wales. A fortnight later, Bale was still the number one obsession.
For the most part, Zidane rode out the incoming storm, giving no indication that Bale was going to be outcast and not really showing any desire to interpret any hidden or not so hidden messages from his player. “I’m only interested in sporting performance, not what goes on elsewhere,” declared Coach Zizou who quickly called an end to any more Bale lines of enquiry, asking for Real Madrid fans to support him on Saturday. “People who feel the colors of Real Madrid need to be with him.”
Madrid are up against very tough opponents indeed in the form of Real Sociedad. But that match was waaaaaaaaay down the list of priorities for the press. Once the Bale gale was over, Jose Mourinho was the next topic of conversation and the former Madrid manager taking over Tottenham. “I would only coach at Real Madrid in Spain,” said Zidane on Mourinho now managing at a third team in England.
Real Madrid against Real Sociedad is live, live, live on beIN SPORTS on Saturday from 3PM ET and all things Bale, Barcelona and our Gabrielle Amado live from Lima for the Copa Libertadores final on Saturday will be the talk of the town on the Sports Burst live show. Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET.
Solskjaer embraces Mourinho 'circus' at Tottenham
It's time for Mourinho corner - what would have been a completely blank section of the page were it not for the mountain of news generated by the Special One's arrival at Tottenham on Wednesday where he promises that he is a calm, caring, Instagram-embracing changed man.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer provided the perfect link to the kerfuffle on Friday. The Manchester United manager is the coach who took over from Mourinho at Old Trafford, while Mauricio Pochettino is now the first in line to take over from the Norwegian at Old Trafford when the time comes. Which is soon.
However, Ole says he is unfussed by the looming sensation of a hovering Poch - "I am not bothered at all, as I have the best job in the world." For the moment.
Solskjaer also observed the world's Mourinho obsession. "It's going to be a spectacle and a circus" predicted the fjord-fan ahead of United's away clash at Sheffield United this weekend.
Meanwhile, the Zlatan to Tottenham business appears to be an actual thing.
Previously, the Swede was apparently heading for a nice retirement move to Bologna in Serie A. However, Spurs needing some personality in the locker room and a previous relationship with Mourinho sees Zlatan coming to Tottenham in the winter transfer window.
Neymar makes PSG return in time for wild week
Neymar makes PSG return in time for wild week.
Over to Paris now where Thomas Tuchel is involved in a game of fitness whack-a-mole. One player comes fully back on line for the Ligue Un leaders and another wobbles off.
PSG are in action on Friday in a home clash against Lille and Neymar is back, back, back for today's game as well as the French club's upcoming games against Real Madrid in the Champions League and Monaco in Ligue Un.
Neymar feels good," declared Tuchel who advised that Brazilian is not quite up for a full 90 minutes though. The German also had to bad away questions regarding a quick trip to Madrid for Neymar to catch some Davis Cup tennis. "I'm not his father, nor the police. I'm just his coach," noted Tuchel.
There will be a late fitness call on Kylian Mbappe though who has been feeling a little bit under the weather this week but is in the match day squad. PSG v Lille is live, live, live on beIN SPORTS at 2:45PM ET and is preceded by an early Turkey treat with Galatasaray taking on Istanbul Basaksehir at 12:30PM ET.
Before heading off, if you are at a loose end today then have a look at everything you could want to know about Saturday's Copa Libertadores final between Flamengo and River Plate that is live, live, live on beIN SPORTS ESPANOL at 3PM ET.