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The agent of Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, Jonathan Barnett, has said the player remains happy at the club and doesn’t want to leave, suggesting his client is “worth as much as Neymar.”
Barnett counts Bale and Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny among his client list, and he told Italian newspaper Tuttosport the former isn’t looking to leave Real (h/t Calciomercato.com):
“Bale? I think he’s worth as much as Neymar. He loves Real Madrid and doesn’t want to leave. Gareth does not need Ronaldo to leave Real Madrid, he is already a top star of the club.
“Bale is such a positive example for children. You will never see him in a fast food. He goes to bed early and I don’t think he is worse than Neymar. He can also battle it out for the Ballon d’Or in the future. When he joined Real Madrid Florentino Perez gifted me a pen to sign contracts. I always have it with me now.
“I think no Serie A club can afford to buy Bale. There was the interest of a top Italian club but I can’t name it. Tottenham, however, refused to sell him.”
Neymar’s £200 million move to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona last summer was worth more than twice the previous world record. Many might disagree Bale deserves a similar price tag as the Brazil international.
It’s been four-and-a-half years since Bale moved to Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in an £86 million deal, at the time a world record. The Wales international has endured an up-and-down, injury-laden spell in the Spanish capital.
But there’s little denying the winger is a major asset to Los Merengues when fully fit, and despite sometimes having a rocky relationship with the club’s support, ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan recently hinted that may be changing:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
A sign of changing times at Bernabeu – Bale wins fans-voted player of the month for Jan. https://t.co/fzBeCmW8sI
The 28-year-old has three-and-a-half years remaining on the contract extension he signed in October 2016. He would be approaching his 33rd birthday should he remain at Real for that long.
The team’s lacklustre performances this season have served as a reminder that change is needed, although sports writer Andy West noted Bale is one of the youngest among Madrid’s old guard:
Andy West @andywest01
Everyone focuses on Cristiano’s age, but don’t forget: Modric 32, Ramos 31, Benzema 30, Navas 31, Marcelo 30 soon, Bale 29 soon. Time to build future around Isco, Asensio, Kovacic (or recruit heavily).
Wales manager Ryan Giggs also recently offered some insight regarding Bale’s status at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, per Yahoo Sport UK:
Yahoo Sport UK @YahooSportUK
“He’s happy at Real Madrid, he wants to stay, there’s no doubt. He knows that the coach and the club respect him, and he wants to show the fans what he is capable of.”
Ryan Giggs believes Gareth Bale will not leave Real Madrid anytime soon. 🚫 #RMCF https://t.co/rWLymeRJra
Bale has nine goals and five assists in 20 appearances across all competitions this season, while Neymar has scored 28 times and recorded 16 assists in 27 outings.
The argument is the lower standard of competition in France doesn’t allow for a fair comparison, but despite Bale’s injury setbacks, not many would argue Neymar is the more valuable commodity.
Neymar is also almost three years younger than Bale and is a much more marketable figure, particularly in South America.
Barnett will inevitably tout his client as being on a par with the best players in the world. Perhaps the race for this season’s Ballon d’Or will offer a more reliable comparison of the pair’s powers.