• La Liga

United made bid for Bale, says Madrid president

ESPN staff
September 24, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Gareth Bale has been passed fit to make his Bernabeu debut for Real Madrid on Saturda © Getty Images
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Florentino Perez says that Manchester United moved to sign Gareth Bale in the summer, while suggesting that Bale's own wish to join Real Madrid forced the deal through even though the Red Devils were prepared to pay more than the Spanish club did.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti recently claimed that an unnamed other club had made a bigger bid for Bale during the summer's long drawn out transfer saga, with the Old Trafford club, as well as Paris Saint-Germain among those mentioned in subsequent speculation.

During an hour long interview with Spanish radio show El Larguero on Monday night the Blancos chief revealed that a serious attempt from United to sign Bale had led him to make his own final move, with the Wales international's long held dream of playing at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu being key.

"I believe that Tottenham truly did not want to sell him," Perez said. "We respected that they did not want to sell him. We found out at a certain moment that Manchester United were going to make an offer. That is when we made ours. The player heard about that, and since he was small he has been a Madrid fan. His dream was to play for Madrid, and when he heard we had made a good offer for him, he did everything possible to come here."

Perez again declined to say whether his club had paid the €91 million figure linked to the Spanish press, or the €101m world record fee which is generally accepted in the UK. But the construction magnate predicted Madrid would make a profit on the transfer in the end, as they always did with galacticos, no matter how high their price.

"[Bale] was cheap," Perez said. "I have not said the amount. Every time there is talk of figures, the figures which someone wants to come out are those that come out. Madrid's model is the model of Santiago Bernabeu - to have the best players.

"That produces an important effect, both sporting and economic. I have already showed this, as in the year 2000 Madrid was in a bad situation losing money. And signing [Luis] Figo, [Zinedine] Zidane and [David] Beckham, even though they were very expensive, we started making money. That is a model which works in business, and in football, which is also a business."

For example signing big stars helps Madrid to hugely improve their own deals with sponsors, Perez explained.

"When we signed Zidane for a very big amount of money - about €75m - we changed from Teka who paid us 400 [million pesetas] to Siemens who paid us 4,000," he said. "That was because of Zidane. Kaka was Adidas, and Cristiano [Ronaldo] was Nike.

"[Having Kaka] helped us to renew our contract with Adidas, in a very important way. It is true that we had bad luck from a sporting perspective, above all he was injured at the World Cup the next year and from there he did not give the sporting performance we expected, but from the financial point of view he helped us a lot. All these players [the galacticos] helped us to grow from €100m in revenues to more than €500m."

The latest big money arrival would have a similar commercial effect, Florentino predicted. "Bale has twice been named the best player in the Premier League, he was the image of the Premier League, the trademark player," he said. "I believe he is one of the great players in the world and that Real Madrid have this model."

Perez also revealed that Madrid's new coach Ancelotti had paid €3.5m of his own money to smooth his move from PSG this summer.

"We paid €7m for Ancelotti, and he paid half of that, and Madrid the other half," he said. "It is obviously a small matter among the figures we are talking about. He earns about the same as Mourinho did."

Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti meanwhile says Bale will be fit to play in the Madrid derby against Atletico on Saturday. Bale missed out on his home debut against Getafe at the weekend.

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