football Slides Sports News

Gareth Bale thanks Real Madrid and confirms departure

Gareth Bale has confirmed his expected departure from Real Madrid in a letter to team-mates, staff and fans at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Bale, who was the world’s most expensive player when he joined Madrid from Tottenham in 2013, is out of contract at the end of this month.

The Wales forward has played a key role in winning 16 major honours while in Spain, including a remarkable five Champions League triumphs.

Bale has scored three Champions League final goals, including a memorable overhead kick against Liverpool in 2018. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (four) has netted more.

But the 32-year-old was an unused substitute for Madrid’s most recent triumph on Saturday – again versus Liverpool – and featured in only seven minutes during an epic European campaign.

Restricted to just seven appearances in all competitions after returning from a loan spell at Spurs, Bale’s exit had long been anticipated.

In a post on Twitter on Wednesday, he wrote: “I write this message to say thank you to all my team-mates, past and present, my managers, the backroom staff and to the fans that supported me.

“I arrived here nine years ago as a young man who wanted to realise my dream of playing for Real Madrid. To wear the pristine white kit, to wear the crest on my chest, to play at the Santiago Bernabeu, to win titles and to be part of what it’s so famous for, to win the Champions League.

“I can now look back, reflect and say with honesty that this dream became a reality and much, much more.

“To be a part of this club’s history and to achieve what we achieved while I was a Real Madrid player, has been an incredible experience and one I will never forget.

“I also want to thank president Florentino Perez, Jose Angel Sanchez and the board for giving me the opportunity to play for this club.

“Together we were able to create some moments that will live forever in the history of this club and football. It has been an honour.”

football Sports News

Gareth Bale not in favour of biennial FIFA World Cup The 2022 FIFA World

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar could be Gareth Bale’s last opportunity to play in the tournament but the forward said making the competition a biennial event would diminish its appeal.

Wales captain Gareth Bale said he is not in favour of a FIFA proposal to hold the World Cup every two years.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be the 32-year-old’s last opportunity to play in the tournament but the winger said making the competition a biennial event would diminish its appeal.

“I like the tradition of every four years. It has that prestige, like the Olympics where it comes around every four years. It feels that little bit more special because it’s not happening too often,” Bale said.

“It does make it that bit more prestigious … I don’t really like that every two years because it loses that bit of history.”

Manchester City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano said the football calendar was already overwhelmed.

“There is no space for anything,” he said. “No room at all. The players cannot play more games.”

Nasser al-Khelaifi, the European Club Association (ECA) president and Paris St Germain chief executive, and Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani urged FIFA to engage with clubs on the matter.

“I would like every four years but perhaps there could be a discussion around every three,” Radrizzani added.

A joint statement signed by Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and fans’ groups from across the six confederations called on FIFA to abandon their proposals.

“Such a move threatens to destroy the already fragile balance between local, domestic, continental, and international competitions and calendars,” the statement read.

“The game needs to change. But it needs to change for the better. We do not want or need more World Cups.”

football Slides Sports News

WEEKEND ROUND-UP: Ronaldo and Bale catch the eye but neither Juventus nor Real Madrid manage a win

Former team-mates Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo made headlines on Sunday in contrasting fashion, but their respective clubs of Real Madrid and Juventus were held to disappointing draws.

The duo combined to help the Bernabeu outfit win four Champions League titles during a glittering era of success for the LaLiga side and once again were the talk of Europe this weekend.

Welsh international Bale scored his first Madrid goal in two years, having enjoyed a loan spell at old side Tottenham last season, but Carlo Ancelotti’s men had to settle for a point at Levante.

Roger Marti and Jose Campana struck after the break to turn the game on its head and when Rober Pier made it 3-2 with 11 minutes left, the hosts looked on course for a memorable triumph but substitute Vinicius Junior added to his earlier equaliser with another to clinch a 3-3 draw.

Over in Italy, Ronaldo made headlines before a ball had been kicked at Udinese after he was only named among the substitutes.

Sky in Italy reported the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had asked not to start with the Portuguese ace linked with a move away from Turin this summer due to only one year being left on his contract.

Early goals from Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado put the visitors on their way to three points without Ronaldo and while he was introduced on the hour mark, Udinese were able to mount an excellent second-half comeback.

Roberto Pereyra, formerly of Watford, reduced the deficit from the penalty spot before another ex-Hornets man in Gerard Deulofeu earned the hosts a share of the spoils with the equaliser with seven minutes left.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Tammy Abraham registered two assists as Jose Mourinho got off to a winning start as Roma manager with a 3-1 triumph over Fiorentina

Napoli also got off the mark on the opening weekend but survived playing the majority of their game against newly-promoted Venezia with 10 men after Victor Osimhen had seen red in the 23rd-minute. Goals by Lorenzo Insigne and Eljif Elmas earned all three points.

Bologna edged out new boys Salernitana in a five-goal thriller where Marko Arnautovic was on target for the victors.

Prior to Madrid dropping points in LaLiga, reigning champions Atletico had started the defence of their title with a trademark 1-0 win over Elche.

Angel Correa grabbed the only goal of the contest while Mikel Oyarzabel helped Real Sociedad see off Rayo Vallecano by the same score.

There was drama aplenty in Ligue 1 too where Nice’s match with Marseille was abandoned after the home fans stormed onto the pitch midway through the second half

Kasper Dolberg had put the hosts ahead in the 49th minute but a fiery encounter where seven yellow cards were handed out spilled over late on Allianz Riviera.

After Marseille’s Dimitri Payet responded to a bottle being thrown at him by chucking it back into the crowd, fans of Nice entered the pitch and both sets of players were taken off after a coming together.

While Nice returned to the field of play to resume the game, the visitors had made the decision to leave with the referee forced to abandon the fixture.

Moussa Dembele struck a brace for Lyon but they were held to a 3-3 draw by Clermont and Metz, Bordeaux and Strasbourg could only draw at home to Reims, Angers and Troyes respectively while Montpellier saw off Lorient 3-1.

Bayern Munich claimed a first win of the new Bundesliga season thanks to Serge Gnabry’s brace against Cologne.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring for Julian Nagelsmann’s side before Gnabry doubled their advantage, but the visitors hit back through Anthony Modeste and Mark Uth.

It was left to ex-Arsenal winger Gnabry to secure a maiden league win for the new manager in charge when he drilled home with 19 minutes left in Munich.

Hoffenheim and Union Berlin also played out an entertaining match on Sunday with the spoils shared after a 2-2 draw.

football Slides Sports News


Gareth Bale scored a stunning hat-trick as Tottenham kept themselves in the Champions League qualification race with a 4-0 win over Sheffield United.

Bale claimed his first Spurs treble since 2012 with a trio of brilliant finishes to move his side into fifth, five points off Chelsea with four games left to play.

Son Heung-min also scored a fine goal as Ryan Mason’s men ran riot against a Blades side whose relegation fate has already been sealed.

Bale was unplayable and took his Premier League tally to eight goals in the last eight games, but with that must come a sense of what might have been this season.

Bale was alarmingly under-used by former boss Jose Mourinho, even when he had regained peak condition, and playing with freedom in a front four with Harry Kane, Son and Dele Alli, Spurs were a constant threat and a far cry from the pragmatic style that dogged Mourinho’s era.

It may have come too late to gatecrash the top four this season, but playing like this makes them a strong bet to finish in a Europa League spot.

The onslaught started early as Son forced Aaron Ramsdale into a smart stop, with the Blades goalkeeper getting a strong hand to a low shot that was heading into the bottom corner.

Kane, on the march for a third Premier League golden boot, uncharacteristically missed two chances he would normally convert, first seeing a shot blocked after slaloming into the area and then skying Sergio Reguilon’s pull-back embarrassingly over.

But Spurs finally went ahead in the 36th minute with a moment of quality.

Bale broke from deep to latch on to Serge Aurier’s ball over the top and then sent it past Ramsdale with a cute finish with the outside of his boot.

The Wales international was back in the starting line-up after missing out in the Carabao Cup final and delivered his 12th goal in all competitions.

Spurs were cursing VAR twice in the opening seven minutes of the second half.

First Peter Bankes ruled that John Fleck did not commit violent conduct when he appeared to stamp on Giovani Lo Celso’s face and then VAR ruled out a Son goal, judging the South Korean’s armpit to be in an offside position when he ran on to Toby Alderweireld’s long ball.

The hosts were not denied for long, however, as they did double their lead just after the hour with a devastating counter attack.

After clearing a Blades corner, Son evaded two challenges and sent Bale clear on goal, with the Welshman delivering an emphatic finish into the top corner.

Bale, whose future next season remains unclear, then completed his hat-trick with another moment of quality, drilling in a low effort after a fine team move which involved Alli and Aurier.

Bale’s treble was of a high standard, but Son may lay claim to scoring the goal of the night with 13 minutes remaining.

Son received the ball on the left from Steven Bergwijn, cut inside and sent a curling effort from 20 yards in off the far post.

football Sports News


Tottenham took the first steps of moving on from their European Super League shame as they began life after Jose Mourinho with a late 2-1 Premier League win over Southampton.

It has been a tumultuous 72 hours for Spurs as since they last played at Everton on Friday night they joined the ESL, sacked Mourinho, appointed 29-year-old Ryan Mason as interim head coach and then, after much derision, buckled under the weight of extreme resistance to the breakaway plans and quit.

After fans protested before the game against chairman Daniel Levy and owners ENIC, things did not look like they were going to get better in the wake of Mourinho’s exit as Danny Ings gave Southampton a first-half lead.

But Gareth Bale, back in the side after being frozen out under Mourinho, levelled and then minutes after VAR had ruled out a Son Heung-min goal, the decision-review system awarded Spurs a penalty at the death, which Son struck home.

It was just the tonic the beleaguered club needed going into Sunday’s Carabao Cup final and they move back into the top six, just two points off the top four.

It was also a fairy-tale evening for Mason, who joined Spurs as an eight-year-old and was cruelly forced to retire as a player aged just 26, beginning what could be a seven-game reign with a win.

Southampton, who lost in the FA Cup semi-final at the weekend, have not enjoyed life in the Premier League in 2021 and are still not out of relegation danger, sitting just six points above the drop zone.

The stadium announcer began his pre-match address by saying “it has been an intriguing few days” and that does not quite do it justice.

Fans were not going to let Spurs forget their part in the much derided breakaway plans and a number of them gathered outside the ground to protest.

Events off the pitch had provided distraction from just how dismal it has been for Spurs on it recently, but once the action got under way it was soon back front and centre of everyone’s minds.

Southampton arrived with just three Premier League wins this year but should have gone ahead inside the first five minutes as goalkeeper Hugo Lloris produced a fine double save.

First he did brilliantly to palm away Mohammed Salisu’s header and then recovered superbly to keep out Che Adams’ follow-up with his legs.

Mourinho may no longer be in the building but the same defensive problems exist and Saints took a deserved lead after 30 minutes.

Ings got in front of Serge Aurier from a corner and sent a glancing header in off a post for his 12th goal of the season.

Mason had vowed to send his side out to be brave and aggressive, but, robbed of star man Harry Kane, it was a lifeless performance in the opening 45 minutes.

However, they should have gone in level at half-time as Lucas Moura missed a great chance as he blazed over at the far post.

It did not take much, but there was a big improvement after the break and Bale was at the forefront of it.

A lovely flick teed-up Son, whose shot was blocked, and then a trademark swerving effort from distance tested the handling of Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.

The deserved equaliser came on the hour and it was a moment of class from Bale.

Tottenham’s best move of the game saw Tanguy Ndombele, Son and Moura combine, with the latter’s blocked shot falling to the Welshman at the far post and he sent a delicious curling effort in off the far post.

Spurs thought they had scored the winner 16 minutes from time with what looked like a lovely goal.

Giovani Lo Celso played in Sergio Reguilon, whose pull-back to Son was arrowed into the bottom corner. However, VAR spotted Moura in an offside position in McCarthy’s line of sight, even though the goalkeeper had no chance of saving it.

But VAR paid them back in the 89th minute as, after a free-kick was initially awarded by referee David Coote for a foul by Moussa Djenepo, replays showed it took place on the line of the 18-yard box and was ruled as a penalty.

Son stepped up to strike home the spot-kick and give Spurs fresh impetus.

football Slides Sports News


Gareth Bale and Harry Kane starred with braces to help Tottenham make it three Premier League wins in a row and boost their top four hopes after a 4-1 home success over Crystal Palace.

The duo combined twice with Kane the architect for both goals by the Real Madrid loanee before the England captain hit a wonder strike and then created history with another in the 76th minute.

Son Heung-min assisted Kane’s second and it was their 14th goal combination in the Premier League this season to beat the previous record of 13 set by Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton for Blackburn back in the 1994-95 season.

Christian Benteke had threatened to spoil proceedings for Jose Mourinho’s side when he equalised just before half-time, but two quickfire goals after the break ensured Spurs were able to secure a fifth straight victory.

Dele Alli was back on the bench after his second league start of the season at Fulham in midweek while the visitors listed the returning Wilfried Zaha as a substitute.

Bale showed no early ill-effects on his third consecutive start and should have had an assist in the sixth minute but Son headed straight at Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

The Welsh attacker had slalomed between two opponents to create the chance and it was a sign of things to come.

After a brace in Tottenham’s win over Burnley last weekend, Bale added to his tally again with 25 minutes on the clock.

Palace captain Luka Milivojevic was dispossessed by Lucas Moura deep inside his own half and Kane dropped a shoulder to beat the midfielder and race into the area where he squared for Bale to tap in.

It was a poor way for the visitors to concede and not long after the hosts almost produced a superb team move but Sergio Reguilon sliced wide on the volley.

A flurry of corners in quick succession saw Palace build some momentum and in the first minute of stoppage time they levelled against the run of play.

Ebere Eze found Milivojevic in space and the captain atoned for his earlier error with a fine delivery into the area where Benteke headed home for his fifth goal of the season.

Zaha was introduced at the break, but he was largely a spectator during a lightning-quick start to the second period where Tottenham scored twice in the space of three minutes.

First Bale doubled his tally for the night when he nodded home from Kane’s header across the face of goal after another excellent Reguilon cross in the 49th minute.

It made it 10 goals for the season for the Spurs number nine and back-to-back braces at home, but soon the focus was on the creator.

A slick move was concluded in style when Matt Doherty cut back for Kane in space and he produced a 25-yard curler into the top corner to leave Guaita with no chance.

The Bale and Kane show was ended in the 70th minute when the Real Madrid loanee was replaced but it had been another impressive showing to continue his return to form.

A minute before the substitution Zaha had almost reduced the deficit but his shot from outside the area hit the post.

There was still time for one more Spurs goal and it proved a record-breaking effort when Son squared for Kane to head in from close range for their 14th goal combination in the Premier League this season.

It bettered Shearer and Sutton’s efforts of 13 for Blackburn 26 years ago and ensured the 4-1 win for Tottenham moved them up to sixth in the table while Palace remain in 13th.

football Slides Sports News


Gareth Bale scored in either half as Tottenham Hotspur comfortably returned to winning ways with a 4-0 victory over Burnley.

Bale opened the scoring after only 68 seconds when he converted Son Heung-min’s cross.

Jay Rodriguez had a header saved at the other end before Spurs asserted their dominance.

Bale’s sumptuous long pass picked out Harry Kane, who doubled the home side’s lead on 14 minutes.

Lucas Moura added a third just past the half-hour with a low shot from Sergio Reguilon’s cross.

And Bale sealed the win with his second strike in the 55th minute, curling in after another assist from Son.

Burnley’s Nick Pope prevented Spurs grabbing more goals with smart saves from Kane and Son.

Spurs move up to eighth with 39 points while a first defeat in five keeps Burnley in 15th on 28 points, five points above the bottom three.

football Slides Sports News


Tottenham Hotspur reached the semifinals of the League Cup with a 3-1 win over second-tier side Stoke City on Wednesday thanks to goals from Gareth Bale, Ben Davies and Harry Kane.

On the sort of inhospitable evening that Stoke’s stadium became famous for in the Premier League, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho paid the now-Championship team the compliment of fielding a strong side from the off including goal-machine Kane.

Chasing a first major trophy since winning the League Cup in 2008, the Premier League side totally dominated the first half and took a deserved lead when Gareth Bale flicked in a cute 22nd minute header from a Harry Winks cross.

It was Bale’s third goal since returning to Tottenham on loan from Real Madrid.

The hosts lacked their famously passionate crowd at the Bet365 stadium, but the chill wind and pre-match rain bore out the old cliche about the toughest test in football being a “cold, wet night at Stoke.”

And indeed, as those few present to watch huddled in their woolies, Stoke brought scowls to Mourinho’s face in the second half with an equaliser by Jordan Thompson, who beat Hugo Lloris from close after Jacob Brown’s pass in the 53rd minute.

Tottenham weathered the mini-storm, however, to restore their lead with a fine low shot from outside the area by Ben Davies in the 70th minute before Kane, inevitably, blasted into the top of the net from close range in the 81st minute.

“We’re really happy. We knew that a cold, wet windy Wednesday night at Stoke was going to be tough,” man-of-the-match Winks said afterwards.

“The boys were brilliant. It’s a tough place to come.”

Spurs were top of the Premier League earlier this month but they have dropped to sixth after collecting only a point from their last three matches. Mourinho has already won the League Cup four times with Chelsea and Manchester United and is now two wins away from a fifth triumph in the competition.

“We deserved it,” he said after beating Stoke. “Now we have two tough games to come.”

Tottenham join holders Manchester City and Championship side Brentford in the semi-final draw, along with either Everton or Manchester United who were playing later on Wednesday.

At Stoke, Mourinho started with out-of-favour Dele Alli, but he was substituted after Stoke’s 37-year-old debut goalkeeper Andy Lonergan thwarted him twice with smart saves. It was Lonergan’s first competitive game since turning out for third tier League One team Rochdale in 2019.

Stoke manager Michael O’Neill said Stoke were too timid in the first half, but he was not displeased overall.

“We expected Spurs to come with a strong team — maybe not as strong as they started” he chuckled.

football Sports News


Gareth Bale played a key role as Wales beat the Republic of Ireland 1-0 in Cardiff to stay top of their Uefa Nations League group on Sunday night.

David Brooks headed home a Bale cut-back from close range after 66 minutes to maintain Wales’ one-point lead over Finland – 2-1 winners in Bulgaria – before the two teams meet in their final Group B4 fixture in Cardiff on Wednesday.

It was Wales’ fourth 1-0 win in the group and leaves Ireland – who had Jeff Hendrick sent off in stoppage time for denying Tyler Roberts a goalscoring opportunity – facing a relegation decider against Bulgaria in Dublin on Wednesday.

But Ireland might feel that Wales should have been reduced to 10 men after 37 minutes when Joe Morrell lashed out at Jayson Molumby.

Both men were booked in the incident but many referees may have chosen to show Morrell the red card instead of yellow for reacting to the Irishman’s shove on him with a petulant kick.

Bale was back from injury to lead a Wales side unbeaten in nine competitive games – a sequence stretching back to June 2019 – and he had a hand in the winner 24 minutes from time.

Dan James’ cross was met by Bale at the far post, outjumping his Tottenham team-mate Matt Doherty, and Brooks bravely headed home his second Wales goal under pressure from Duffy.

Brooks and Moore were denied by Randolph in the closing stages, but Wales held on to keep a seventh successive clean sheet in competitive football to boost their Nations League promotion hopes.