Andre Villas-Boas has admitted that Tottenham Hotspur must qualify for the Champions League in order to keep Gareth Bale from the clutches of predatory clubs, with Real Madrid preparing an offer for the player in the summer, reports The Guardian.
The 23-year-old Welsh winger is one of the hottest properties in European football at the moment, and has spoken openly of his admiration for the reigning Spanish champions.
Bale has been in impressive form for Spurs this season, netting 13 goals in all competitions, to propel them to fourth in the Premier League table, three points clear of fifth-placed Everton, and one behind Chelsea in third.
Villas-Boas is confident that Tottenham can retain the player's services, though, as long as they can qualify for Europe's elite club competition.
Bale got a taste for Champions League football in 2010/11 and, mindful that his opportunities might be limited at major international tournaments with Wales, is determined to play regularly in UEFA's most prodigious club tournament, whether that is at White Hart Lane, or elsewhere.
"Players who are performing at this level always get the attention," explained the Portuguese tactician. "It doesn't mean that the club doesn't foresee a future with Gareth. It's intimately related to the objectives that we achieve for the season. Hopefully, we can do just that with the Champions League and continue to progress on what we are doing.
"It's difficult for us to have a player of this dimension playing so well, calling the attention of other teams but it's also difficult for other teams, with the economic situation as it is, to buy a player of this dimension. At the moment, we are very, very fortunate to have him.
"I think we can reach our objectives with him at this level and if we reach our objectives, we can hopefully continue to have Gareth in our club. He's a player we rate very, very highly and aren't willing to let go.
"The Champions League is where most of the clubs want to be, and where most of the players want to play. It's part of our objectives so hopefully achieving it means we can attract better players and continue to hold on to our best players."