- Premier League
Perez: 'Magnificent' Bale 'born to play for Real'
Real Madrid's courting of Gareth Bale has continued, with president Florentino Perez saying the Tottenham star was "born to play for Real Madrid", while he also lavished praise on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
Both Bale and Suarez have been heavily linked with a move to Madrid in recent days, with the Tottenham winger's agent suggesting his client would be open to a transfer, and Liverpool striker Suarez himself talking about how difficult it would be to turn down an offer from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu club.
Speaking on Spanish radio station COPE on Wednesday night, the Blancos president said he must respect Bale's current club but suggested the Wales international would be perfect for Madrid.
"He is a very good player who plays at Tottenham, a team we must respect," Perez said. "He is magnificent and was born to play for Real Madrid."
When Suarez's comments about maybe moving to Madrid were put to Perez, he admitted to being interested in the Uruguayan, but said other forwards including Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski and Napoli's Edinson Cavani were also options for his club's new coach and sporting director Zinedine Zidane to evaluate.
"Luis Suarez is a great player and of course everyone would like to have him," the empresario said. "I like him, and others too like Lewandowski and Cavani, they are all very good, but there is not room for them all. About Lewandowski I only know that he scored four against us, but we have two of the best forwards in the world already. I saw him in Dortmund and congratulated him in the dressing-room."
Perez was also asked about a possible move for Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara, who is thought to be available for just €18 million this summer after the playmaker's release clause fell temporarily due to a lack of gametime this season. The renowned 'galactico' collector recalled it had been difficult to sign Figo from Barca in 2000, but he had done it.
"I have no 'war' with Barca," he said. "We had that episode with Figo, it was real and we did it. If there is a player who Barcelona do not want, it seems good to me that he comes here. If Barca are not interested in him [Thiago], and we are, of course we would do it."
Madrid's primary concern however, once Perez is confirmed as club president for another term in the coming days, is to persuade Cristiano Ronaldo to ignore interest from elsewhere and sign a new contract to keep him at the Bernabeu for the rest of his career.
"I will do everything I can to extend [Ronaldo's] contract," Perez said. "He has two more years on his current deal, he is the best in the world, and we would like to make a sporting drive with him as our leader, our emblem. I would not sell him, not even for €1 billion, we are not a selling club. If he wanted to be here until the end of his career, that would be perfect. But we will begin speaking about Cristiano after the elections. He will be the first."