Gareth Bale's bumper new contract at Real Madrid, worth £150m over the next six years, is a boost for Wales, according to manager Chris Coleman. The 27-year-old had been linked with a move to Manchester United but is now set to spend the remainder of the fulcrum of his career in the Spanish capital committing himself to the Bernabeu until 2022.
The Guardian understands the former Tottenham Hotspur winger has agreed a new deal worth £350,000-a-week, making him the world's best paid player, while Real have inserted a buyout clause worth £900m. Significantly, the move sees Bale climb above Cristiano Ronaldo in the pecking order to become the premier figure at the 11-time European champions.
Spanish publication Diario Gol reported as recently as September that Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett had been in talks with United, and that the player was keen to leave the club. Those reports appears to have been a ruse during negotiations over a new Real contract, and Coleman says he knew all along his star turn wanted to remain in Spain.
"He's been linked with this club and that club, all the big clubs," said Coleman, according to Sky Sports. "Personally I've always known he wanted to stay there – he loves it there. He likes that spotlight – he's used to it now.
"He had a season where he was getting criticised heavily and I think he's said himself it helped him really. He came through that and he's not looked back, so I'm pleased he's settled. His family are settled and that's good for us. The fact he's settled, it's all done and dusted, is fantastic."
Upon the announcement of the new contract, Bale was unaware whether any club including United had lodged any interest in tempting him away from Madrid. "I can't tell you if any club have been interested," he said. "Since I've been here I've been fully concentrated on playing for Real Madrid.
"I'm very happy here and we never really speak about these things. If (United) have (expressed any interest), I don't know about it. The main thing for me is to concentrate on my football and everything else is dealt with behind the scenes."