Real Madrid are set to underline Cristiano Ronaldo’s fading status at the club by making Gareth Bale their highest paid player.
That is according to The Sun, who believe Los Blancos are to reward Bale for becoming the highest-scoring British player in La Liga history by increasing his £300,000-per-week wages.
The news is unlikely to please Ronaldo, who sees himself as the number one galactico at the Santiago Bernabeu.
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But the Portuguese has long been linked with a move away from Madrid, and Bale’s pay rise highlights how is viewed by club president Florentino Perez and the rest of the club’s hierarchy these days.
It will also put off rumours of Bale leaving. Manchester United are reported to be a possible destination but Ed Woodward can wave goodbye to any dreams of signing the Welshman if he signs a new, lucrative deal.
The 26-year-old’s season has been mired by injuries but he has scored 43 goals in 76 matches since moving from Tottenham three years ago.
And with his strike against Sevilla on Sunday, the winger broke Gary Lineker’s record of 42 goals in 103 games for Barcelona.
Bale is happy at Madrid
Yet it still seems an odd move to increase Bale’s deal. He still has three years remaining on his current deal and Manchester United are hardly in a position to sway Bale based on present form.
And his comments after the 4-0 win over Sevilla didn’t sound like a man eager to leave.
“I’m very happy,” he said, per the Independent. “This new record gives me joy and now the important thing is to improve. You have to try to improve.
“It's a good result and we have to carry on like this, keeping this rhythm. It's good news to have all the squad available and we have enjoyed having everyone available.”
Ronaldo probably wasn’t as enthused. The 31-year-old apologised after missing a penalty after the game and it would certainly appear that his Madrid days are numbered.
Manchester United and PSG want Ronaldo
Rumours have been rife of a return to Manchester United, or a move to Paris Saint-Germain. His contract expires in 2018 and, while most clubs would struggle to afford his price tag (Perez told reporters that Ronaldo would cost PSG €1 billion earlier this season, per ESPN) and wages, it appears likely the winger won’t be plying his trade in Madrid in the 2018-19 season.
Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Guillem Balague recently stated that Ronaldo doubts any club wants to sign him due to his age.
“Cristiano thinks that nobody wants him,” Balague told Sky Sports, “and the reason is that he costs too much at his age.
“Cristiano and Real at the beginning of the season were thinking of parting company, but now it is much more complicated.”
Bale’s potential deal could have a bigger impact on Ronaldo.