Transfer news

Zidane backs Bale to Real Madrid

May 24, 2013
By ESPN staff

Former Real Madrid great Zinedine Zidane has suggested that Gareth Bale could be making his way to the Bernabeu in the summer and described him as one of the top three players in the world.

Bale has long been linked with a switch to Spain, with Real and Barcelona both reportedly interested in signing the Wales international.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Champions League final in London, Zidane said his former club would be the ideal destination for Bale.

"I've been watching Tottenham for the reason that Gareth Bale has been playing there," he said.

"Aside from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, he is the player who has impressed me the most. All of the talented players like that can come to Real Madrid. Is he good enough for Real Madrid? Of course. He is more than good enough to play for Real Madrid.

 "What has particularly impressed me is that he is consistent. He is consistently scoring spectacular goals and very important goals. He is very quick, skilful and exciting."

Zidane said he believed outgoing Real boss Jose Mourinho, the favourite to take over from Rafa Benitez at Chelsea, would not be scarred after enduring a controversial season in which his team did not claim a piece of silverware.

"I don't think it will affect his confidence," he added. "He is disappointed because he did not win. The problem with Real Madrid is the expectation is that you win all of the matches and all of the competitions. And defeat or any lost matches is a shock for Real Madrid. There's a mentality which means you have to win every game.

"If you don't, it's difficult to take. What happens on the pitch means there is a lot of pressure for any coach at Real Madrid. I still think he will have a lot of trust in what he does. He will carry on."

Meanwhile, Zidane, who lost the 1997 Champions League final to Borussia Dortmund as a Juventus player, insisted Bayern Munich are the favourites heading into this season's decider.

"Bayern are of course favourites, but it's a final," he said. "It's one match, and of course Dortmund can win.

"When I was at Juventus, we were super favourites, more than favourites, to win - and we lost to Dortmund. It just went to show anything can happen. I think there will be a one-goal difference between the teams, in favour of Bayern."