x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Transfer talk: Villas-Boas criticises Madrid's Ancelotti over Bale pursuit

Italian wrong to make interest in Welsh winger public, according to Premier League club manager.

A general view of a billboard showing Gareth Bale in Times Square in New York. D Dipasupil / Getty Images / AFP
A general view of a billboard showing Gareth Bale in Times Square in New York. D Dipasupil / Getty Images / AFP

MONACO // Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, upped the stakes in the Gareth Bale transfer saga when he criticised Carlo Ancelotti, his counterpart at Real Madrid, for his public pursuit of the highly-prized Welsh international.

Villas-Boas insisted that Bale was not for sale and even pictured the 24 year old still in a Spurs shirt this season.

Bale is widely expected to complete a world record move, valued at around €100 million (Dh488m), to the Spanish Primera Liga giants next week.

But Villas-Boas said that the suggestion the player is on the brink of leaving the English Premier League club is just speculation.

"In my opinion Carlo was wrong to make it public," said Villas-Boas, after seeing his side lose 5-2 to Monaco in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.

"We had conversations with Real and these were then confirmed publically which, in my opinion, was wrong."

Villas-Boas added: "These rumours of an imminent transfer are not true."

Bale, who has a foot injury, remained in London where he reportedly had already said his farewells to his Tottenham teammates.

"Normally this kind of situation is monitored by the [English] Football Association. The only thing we can say officially is that the player is not for sale," added Villas-Boas.

"Gareth is a guy I really like. We are talking with Real Madrid because there is respect between the two clubs following the transfer last season of Luka Modric.

"We are building a great team for next season. We envisage the future with Gareth. But we know that in football anything is possible."

As Bale works on his fitness, Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, was due to sit down for his first face-to-face talks with Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid president, in Miami next week, possibly on Wednesday, The Times reported on Saturday.

Real are keen to see Bale at the Bernabeu ahead of their opening league game against Real Betis on August 18.

Bale is set to become the most expensive player of all time, an honour currently held by Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved from Manchester United to Real for €94m in 2009.

Levy is reportedly holding out for a transfer fee in excess of £105m (Dh590m) while Madrid are looking to strike a deal at around £85m with a makeweight, possibly Fabio Coentrao, thrown in.

On Saturday, Tottenham were also without Roberto Soldado, their new €30m recruit, and also saw Jermaine Defoe limp off with a hamstring strain.

Monaco, now coached by Claudio Ranieri, the former Chelsea manager, were promoted back to the French top flight last season.

They were worthy winners with Radamel Falcao, their €60m signing from Atletico Madrid, grabbing two goals.

Monaco were a goal ahead after 15 minutes when Andrea Raggi, the Italian defender, volleyed beneath Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham goal.

Two minutes after the interval, Lucas Ocampos, the Argentine winger, got in front of Harry Kane to head home.

In the 49th minute Falcao scored his first goal of the night, a simple tap in from a pass by Ocampos.

Kane pulled one back for 3-1 just before the hour, but Falcao restored the three-goal cushion with a 15-yard drive which screamed past Lloris.

It was 5-1 after 71 minutes when midfielder Mounir Obbadi finished off a three-man break.

Andros Townsend hit a fierce long-distance strike with five minutes left to reduce the deficit to 5-2.


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