Real Madrid director of football Zinedine Zidane has revealed a £60m price tag on Tottenham star Gareth Bale is unlikely to deter serious suitors. The former French international midfielder, who played for the Santiago Bernabeu club between 2001 and 2006, was also quoted as saying that as a result of his value, there were only a handful of clubs in Europe who could afford his services.
"After the season he has just had - and still being so young of course Gareth Bale is going to be one of the most expensive players in the world if he decides to move," the 1998 FIFA World Cup Winner explained, adding, "Tottenham could command £40million, £50m, maybe even £60m for him."
Bale's value is the result of a superb season so far - 24 goals and 10 assists in 41 games across all competitions. The Wales international was awarded the PFA double over the weekend, winning the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards; he becomes only the third player, after Cristiano Ronaldo and Andy Gray, to win both accolades in the same year.
Madrid have long been linked with a move for the Welshman, with club president Florentino Perez believed to have identified the forward as a priority summer signing. And with uncertainty still surrounding Ronaldo's future in the Spanish capital, Bale could be a perfect replacement for the Portuguese international.
For his part, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has reportedly placed a £100m price tag on Bale. There has also been talk of a player-cash deal, with Portugal defender Fabio Coentrao one of several players linked.
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has already admitted the key to retaining Bale, if only for another season, is to qualify for the Champions League. On that front, the north London side have some work to do - they are fifth in the Premier League and trail London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal in the race for the final two qualifying spots.
Meanwhile, Zidane's warning to his club about Bale being the "difference between winning the league or Champions League" will put Madrid on alert, after the nine-time European champions suffered an agonising defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the semi final of the Champions League on Tuesday.
The Spaniards were trailing 1-4 after the first leg and mounted an almost impossible comeback at the Bernabeu, with Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos scoring late on to set up a nervous end for the Germans. However, Jurgen Klopp's men held on for a 4-3 aggregate win and a date at Wembley against rivals Bayern Munich. The Bavarians stunned European football by beating Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate.