Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has said he is standing by his comments that paying €100 million for Gareth Bale would show a “lack of respect” for society but stressed that he does not want to start a feud with Real Madrid counterpart Carlo Ancelotti.
On Sunday afternoon, Ancelotti hit back by suggesting that, as Martino was new to the European game, he was presumably unaware that his own club had spent plenty of money in the past.
“I do not want a disagreement with anyone,” Martino said. “I am sticking to what I said. I am not taking it back, but I do not need to continue with this theme, because it has had a beginning and an end.”
Blaugrana playmaker Xavi Hernandez supported his coach’s views when speaking to Canal Plus at La Rosaleda after Sunday’s game.
“Tata Martino was correct in his comments about Bale, but the market decides the price,” Xavi said. “That is all there is to it.”
Meanwhile, reports in both Spain and the UK continued to suggest that, although Madrid and Tottenham were still ironing out the final details of a deal, the Spanish giants were so confident that they had prepared a stage in the Bernabeu for the presentation of the world’s new most expensive player on Tuesday afternoon.
It has been suggested that Bale -- who spent the weekend relaxing at his agent’s villa inside a Marbella private resort -- could play his first game in a Madrid shirt in Thursday evening’s Trofeo Teresa Herrera at Deportivo la Coruna, before making his official debut against Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu next Sunday.
However, Sky Sports News reported on Monday morning that no deal was in place and that Bale was returning to the UK.