Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho said their pursuit of Gareth Bale was “game over” after the Wales forward started in Real Madrid’s 2-1 European Super Cup win on Tuesday.
Mourinho had said on the eve of the contest between the Champions League and Europa League holders that he would “fight with other clubs” to sign Bale if he did not start the game in Skopje and appeared not to be in coach Zinedine Zidane’s plans.
“Clearly the club wants him, the manager wants him and he wants the club so clearly game over, before it had even started, as everybody knows he is going to stay,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
Real president Florentino Perez also ruled out selling the player he brought to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2013 for a then world record fee of 85.5 million pounds ($111 million).
“I can’t contemplate selling him, he’s a Real Madrid player, he’s important to us and he’s one of the best in the world,” the Madrid chief told reporters.
Bale started up front alongside Karim Benzema in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and laid on the pass for Isco to net Real’s second goal. He narrowly missed out on scoring himself as he thundered a shot against the bar later in the second half.
“I’m not reading anything, although people tell me bits and bobs. I’m enjoying my football and playing as much as a I can and winning trophies,” added Bale, who collected his sixth European medal with Real since his move from Tottenham Hotspur.
“It is obviously great to keep adding to the trophy collection. It was a difficult game but I think we played well and controlled the game very well. We want to keep winning and every game we still have the hunger and desire.”
Despite United spending large periods on the back foot against Real, Mourinho took encouragement from the way his side came back from two goals down to set up a tight finish after Romelu Lukaku reduced the deficit just past the hour.
He also bemoaned the lack of a video assistant referee (VAR) as he criticised the decision to allow Casemiro’s 24th minute opener to stand, although replays showed the Brazilian’s body was broadly in line with United defender Chris Smalling.
“I think we did well, I think we lost to one goal which shows the result was really short (tight) and one of their goals was an offside. With a good VAR system it would be 1-1 and extra time,” added the Portuguese coach, who has still yet to win the European Super Cup after three attempts.
“We were playing a team full of fantastic players but we discussed (contested) the result until almost the end. We gave them a fight but have reasons to leave optimistic and proud.”