Zidane refuses to take Mourinho's Bale bait
After Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho indicated he wants to sign Gareth Bale from Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane played it cool.
Zinedine Zidane says Gareth Bale is fully concentrated on Real Madrid despite continued speculation linking the Wales international with a return to the Premier League.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho suggested on Monday that he would "fight" for Bale's signature with other coaches if Zidane left the winger out of his team for Tuesday's Super Cup clash between United and Madrid in Skopje.
Bale was named on the bench for the Champions League final after recovering from injury, with Isco preferred by Zidane, while Madrid's expected move for Monaco's teenage striker Kylian Mbappe could push the 28-year-old down the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabeu.
But Zidane refused to take the bait offered by Mourinho when he appeared in front of the press, indicating stories about Bale and team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo will not affect his side's focus.
"What's important is the player is feeling well," Zidane told reporters. "He has had a lot of continued training sessions with us and that is what is the most important.
"The end of last season was not easy for him because he was injured,. But now I see him very well, very concentrated.
"What’s important for us is not what Mourinho said, it is what we are going to do tomorrow.
"It's the same thing with Cristiano, we've also had stories there. People seem to want to blow a story out of proportion. We are concentrating on what we're doing and that's what's important.
"Bale is a Madrid player. That is all I can say. What I want to talk to you about now is an important match. Him, me, all the players and the fans are here for the match. That is all I can say."
Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett has previously hit out at transfer speculation regarding his client, telling BBC Sport: "It's a ridiculous, stupid story."
But while Zidane would not open the door for a potential Bale departure, Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was more sanguine about the possibility of the Welshman moving on before the transfer window closes.
"We respect the opinion of any other coach," said Ramos, who was reported to have fallen out with Mourinho during the Portuguese's time in charge of Madrid.
"At the moment, Gareth Bale is a player of Real Madrid and we are delighted to have him on board. The future of any player is decided by that player. We as team-mates have no opinion.
"The month of August is very long and anything can happen. Gareth Bale is a fantastic player and we are delighted to have him on our side."