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18-Sep-2020, 03:38 am

'I think Bale's still a Real Madrid player' - Mourinho mum as Tottenham links to Wales star intensify

Gareth Bale Wales 2019

Jose Mourinho has refused to speculate over talk of Gareth Bale's imminent return to Tottenham Hotspur, as the Real Madrid man closes in on a dream homecoming to his former club.

He originally joined Los Blancos in 2013 from Spurs in a world-record deal, where he proceeded to prove his worth across a memorable string of performances, helping to fire them to domestic and international glory.

Yet his relationship with the coaching set-up at Madrid, led by Zinedine Zidane, has soured in recent years, with amove to China ahead of last season pulled at the last minute, and just 20 games notched up in the susbsequent campaign.

The 31-year-old is expected to take a flight on Friday to London to iron out the final details of what is widely expected to be a season-long loan move back to the Premier League, but Spurs boss Mourinho - who left Madrid only months before Bale arrived seven years ago - has shut down chatter on the matter, citing a respect for the fact he remains currently contracted in the Spanish capital.

"I cannot comment, I don't comment on something that I don't know," the Portuguese stated after his side came through a Europa League qualification victory against Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Bulgaria,thanks to late goals from Harry Kane andTanguy Ndombele.

"For me, at this moment, until I'm told Gareth Bale is a Tottenham player, I still think and feel and respect the fact that he's a Real Madrid player, so I'm not going to comment on a Real Madrid player."

Bale is not expected to feature immediately upon his return to Spurs, with the player still nursing the after-effects of a knee injury.

Nonetheless, he may prove to be a much-needed cog in Mourinho's plans, with his Madrid team-mateSergio Reguilon also expected to join him after both players were previously courted by Manchester United.

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