New Wales manager Ryan Giggs says that Gareth Bale is “happy at Real Madrid” even though a move to Manchester United “would’ve been very good” for the long-time Old Trafford target.
Bale, 28, has returned from injury with five goals in five games so far in 2018, with many Madrid fans and pundits having recently recanted public claims made last summer wishing that he be sold back to the Premier League.
United have long tracked the former Tottenham Hotspur forward, with current Reds manager Jose Mourinho making his interest public last summer, and predecessor David Moyes failing with a rival bid back in summer 2013 when Bale first joined Madrid.
Giggs said there was “no doubt” that the Cardiff-born player was happy to stay in Spain where he had the respect of coach Zinedine Zidane and president Florentino Perez.
“[Bale] is happy at Real Madrid, he wants to stay, there’s no doubt,” Giggs said in Marca. “He knows that the coach and the club respect him and he wants to show the fans what he is capable of.”
United’s record appearances holder Giggs, an assistant to Moyes during 2013-14, did say that a move to Old Trafford might have been beneficial had it happened in the past.
“I don’t know [of Manchester United interest], but Bale has no intention of leaving and Real Madrid won’t sell the player,” he said. “It’s clear that United would’ve been very good for him, but I don’t think that’s an option at the moment, he’s not going to leave Real Madrid.”
Last autumn Giggs advised Bale to change his training routine and style of play to help avoid injury, and he now says the pair have spoken about how best to approach this.
“I played more than 1,000 games and I didn’t achieve it without managing myself properly, without listening to my body,” he said. “It is essential that the player knows how far he can go. At the beginning of my career I had hamstring problems and I missed a lot of United games, but I beat them. I have told Gareth he must be calm and the rest will come. I know it’s not easy to do it, but you don’t have to be obsessed.”
Asked if Bale was a potential Ballon d’Or winner in an era after teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Giggs said there were “no limits” to what was possible.
“Gareth works hard to be the best,” he said. “I think that today Messi and Ronaldo are above the rest, as they have been demonstrating for the last ten years. I think [Bale] has no limits because he’s at a great club and if he can play regularly, he can reach the top.”
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan