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Bale's future may be out of my hands, says Zidane.

Byline: Paul Abbandonato Head of Sport paul.abbandonato@walesonline.co.uk

ZINEDINE ZIDANE threw a question mark over Gareth Bale's Real Madrid future by refusing to rule out the prospect of the Wales superstar moving to Manchester United this summer. Real's Champions League winning coach, Bale's staunchest backer in Madrid and who has previously always insisted his Welsh ace is going nowhere, admitted the matter is out of his hands.

Addressing the futures of Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema - also known as the BBC - Zidane said: "I hope they stay, but I am not the one to decide."

His comment comes amid mounting speculation that Real are launching a world record PS160million bid to try to snap up French teen goal sensation Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.

The suggestion in Spain is that Bale will be sold to Manchester United to fund the deal. Perhaps surprisingly, a poll of 40,000 Real Madrid fans saw 72% of them say they wouldn't be upset if Bale leaves.

Asked specifically about Mbappe, Zidane would only say: "I am the coach, it is for someone else to speak about."

His chance of stance over Bale will offer encouragement to United boss Jose Mourinho, who feels the capture of Bale can bring the Pemier League title back to Old Trafford.

United's neighbours and rivals Manchester City and reigning champions Chelsea would also be interested in Bale, while French giants PSG are keeping a watching brief.

Mourinho's moves for Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic have stalled as United have refused to meet the Italian giants' PS49m valuation. Bale would leapfrog Perisic in United's list of priorities if they were given clear indication Real were willing to sell.

They would have to pay a fee of around PS100m to land Bale, which would give Real Madrid a tidy profit on their own PS85m investment in the Welsh ace four years ago.

Bale is contracted to Real until 2022, but faces a fresh battle with Spanish playmaker Isco for a place in Zidane's starting XI once the new season kicks in.

| IS BALE FOR UNITED REALLY ON? Full analysis Pages 44 and 45

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 28, 2017
Words:355
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