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Gareth Bale transfer may have used taxpayers' money - Conservative MEP

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe explains that seeing the support from the crowd after his hat-trick could boost his confidence.

British Conservative MEP Daniel Dalton has asked the European Commission to investigate whether taxpayers' money was used to underwrite Gareth Bale's transfer to Real Madrid.

Wales international Bale joined Madrid from Tottenham in the summer of 2013 for a world record €101 million fee, with the deal reportedly being financed by a number of big Spanish banks. And one of those financial institutions may have been Bankia -- which received an €18 billion (£14 billion) bailout from the EU.

Dalton told the Daily Telegraph that he had concerns that taxpayers' money had been used to give Madrid an advantage over other clubs in the transfer market.

"If taxpayers' money was used to underwrite the Gareth Bale transfer deal then this is something the EU should investigate further," Dalton said. "Real Madrid are the world's richest football club and if it has used a state owned bank, owned by taxpayers, to guarantee multi-million pound record transfer fees, then it is clearly something the EU should look to address to ensure there are no unfair competitive advantages given to football teams supported by taxpayer-funded financial institutions."

Dalton's questioning of the deal has been made in conjunction with two fellow MEPs, Belgian Sander Loones and Catalan Ramon Tremosa, and comes after the Football Leaks website claimed to have secured details of Bale's transfer to Madrid.

According to the Telegraph report, the three MEPs have included a claim that financially troubled Spanish banks used the then multi-million contracts of current Madrid galactico Cristiano Ronaldo and former player Kaka as collateral when applying for loans to the European Central Bank back in 2010.

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