Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has claimed talisman Gareth Bale will stay at the club even if they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Villas-Boas was quoted last week suggesting Spurs need to secure a top four finish if they are to keep Bale out of the clutches of Real Madrid and several other top clubs believed to be eager to sign the 23-year-old Welshman this summer, yet the Tottenham boss insisted his comments were taken out of context.
As he faced the media in his latest press conference at the club's Enfield training base, a cheerful Villas-Boas moved to clarify Spurs' position on the future of a player who on Thursday added the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) Player of the Year crown to his PFA awards double from last weekend.
“The information I have from the club that was mistakenly written about last week is that the player will remain here irrespective of Champions League qualification being achieved or not,” Villas-Boas stressed.
“This is the information I shared with you all of the season. The more rewards, the more recognition the player has, the more media attention, but this club can only move forward by keeping hold of its players and next season for Tottenham, Gareth cam be even more assertive.
“I would be extremely surprised [if he left this summer], but in football anything can happen. It is impossible to predict. This is the assurance I have from the club.”
Villas-Boas was then quizzed on the comments offered up by Real Madrid ‘special adviser’ Zinedine Zidane, who insisted the top clubs in European football would all be courting Bale’s signature this summer even if his price tag rose to £60 million.
“Whatever the price tag the player has doesn’t matter to us because he is our player,” the Portuguese boss said. “He’s a player we have to keep hold of him for the remaining seasons to make sure we are to achieve our objectives.
“In the end, it is great for a player of Zidane’s dimension to speak to Gareth. Good public recognition from someone who has reached the heights of the game. I have no problem with him commenting like this.”
Villas-Boas concluded by declaring that Bale “fully deserved” his latest award from the FWA, as he paid tribute to a player who has illuminated this Premier League season.
“There is no end to his awards, hopefully not,” he added with a smile. “It is another recognition of the season he had, truly deserved. This is prestigious from the Football Writers’ Association. It means a lot to the player and the season he had, but also for all of us and his colleagues for helping him to achieve it.
“The other players have had a joke with him this week, but this will not go to his head. You see the way he thanked his players for letting him achieve those awards. He goes into a select group who has won both awards in the same year and it is wonderful for him recognise his colleagues at a moment when he is recognised as a individual.”
Meanwhile, Bale could be found a matter of yards from Villas-Boas’s press briefing seeking information of the date and dress code for the Football Writers' annual dinner that will be held in his honour this year.