Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane has ruled out the possibility of Gareth Bale joining Manchester United in the summer.
Bale has come in for criticism this season for some of his performances, and reports have suggested that a transfer could be possible, just two years after he joined Real Madrid for a world record fee from Tottenham.
Manchester United were said to be looking at the possibility of a transfer in the summer window having been linked with him during his time at Tottenham, but Zidane - who is currently the head coach of Real Madrid Castilla having been tipped to take over manager Carlo Ancelotti in the future - says Bale is not for sale at any price.
Article continues below
“Real Madrid buy the best players in the world, they don’t sell them," he said. "Of course other clubs will be interested in him, he would improve any squad in the world.
“But the president has said he is not for sale – and that is because he is not for sale. That will be the answer to Manchester United or any other club that asks the question. He was a big part of our success last season especially in the Champions League, and as we look to defend our title I am sure he will play a successful part again.”
Article continues below
Bale has managed 13 goals in 27 La Liga games this season, but the Welshman has been booed by his own fans at times this season. The most recent incident came during Real Madrid's Champions League defeat against Schalke last month, while a recent poll of fans revealed that over 43% of fans wanted him to be dropped in favour of either James Rodriguez or Isco.
Bale will have the chance to prove his doubters wrong once more when Real Madrid continue their defence of their Champions League crown against local rivals Atletico Madrid this week.
The former Tottenham star has previously spoken out about his desire to stay put in Madrid, having turned down the chance to join Manchester United when they tried to hijack the Spanish side's record deal in 2013.
Zidane is right in one respect; Real Madrid are under no pressure to sell up. However that doesn't mean that they won't. Real Madrid are a massive commercial enterprise and as long as Bale is making money then there isn't a problem, plus it's not like his performing badly either.
However while the fans continue to boo Bale there must be a thought in President Florentino Perez's head that it could turn sour.
Manchester United will be hoping to pounce on that doubt. That may not be this summer, but in the near future.