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SPORTS UPDATE

Atletico Madrid shun chance to sign Gareth Bale

Atletico Madrid have turned down the chance to sign Gareth Bale on a free transfer this summer, according to reports in Spain.

The 32-year-old Welshman is set to leave city rivals Real Madrid after a topsy-turvy nine-year stint with the club.

And Spanish radio station Cadena COPE claim the former Tottenham star’s services were offered to Atletico Madrid in a meeting between his agents and the Spanish club’s sporting director Andrea Berta.

However, the report claims the club’s technical director told his representatives – led by the executive chairman of ICM Stellar Sports Jonathan Barnett that while they appreciated the offer, they did not see him as part of their plans.

It comes with the same outlet adding Bale would like to stay in Madrid if possible, especially because his family appear settled, given that they remained in the Spanish capital during his loan spell back at Spurs in the 2020-21 season.

However, speaking last week, Barnett hinted a decision on Bale’s future will depend on whether Wales make their first World Cup for 64 years.

‘He leaves Real Madrid, but it all depends on whether Wales qualify, then we will make a decision,’ Barnett told Portuguese newspaper Record.

‘Is it more likely to return to England? I think so, but we’ll have to wait and see if Wales qualify for the World Cup.’

Wales boss Robert Page has named skipper Bale in a 27-man squad for the World Cup play-off final against Scotland or Ukraine in Cardiff on June 5.

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