Tottenham’s manager Jose Mourinho has taken a jab at Real Madrid after the Spurs beat Brighton 2-1, with Gareth Bale scoring the winner with a neat header. This was Bale’s second game in the season and the first goal since he returned to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mourinho was inundated with questions about the Welsh striker at a press conference following the game.
The manager said that Bale is still recovering from a knee injury, which is why he is reluctant to let him play in the Premier League for a longer period of time.
"He doesn’t have 90 minutes of a Premier League match in his legs yet. So we are using the Europa League to complement his training process. Even in a Europa League match where the intensity is different to the Premier League I will not play him for 90 minutes, I will always have this care with him until we feel he’s ready", the Portuguese manager said.
Mourinho noted that he was pleased with Bale’s performance before taunting the athlete’s former club, Real Madrid.
"When I have five minutes I’m going to Safari [Internet browser] to look on Madrid’s website to see what they say", Mourinho said, referring to the criticism Bale faced from the Spanish press and Real Madrid’s fans.
Rise in Tottenham and Fall in Madrid
The Spurs signed the then 18-year-old striker from Southampton for just five million pounds in 2007. Three years later, Bale became Tottenham's key player. In 2011/2012, he helped the club secure fourth place in the Premier League, and a year later he scored 21 goals for the Spurs, sparking the interest of Real Madrid. Los Blancos signed the athlete for almost $110 million. His transfer even eclipsed the record fee of $103 million, which Real paid for superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
He scored 22 goals during his first season at Santiago Bernabeu and proved to Spanish sports pundits and fans that he was worth all the money the club had spent on him. He finished the season as a hero by scoring an incredible goal against Barcelona in the final of Copa del Rey and helped the club win Champions League.
From then on, his time with Real went up and down - a good season was followed by a less successful one. Over time, his performance started to deteriorate due to numerous injuries – his calf, thigh, and groin. In the 2018/2019 season he scored only 8 goals appearing in 29 games, while during his last season at Santiago Bernaeu, which again was marred by an injury, the athlete scored only two goals. The Spanish press chastised him and wrote that he is no longer interested in playing for Los Blancos; however, the club’s manager Zinedine Zidane insisted that Bale had never expressed a desire to leave. Eventually the club decided to loan him to Tottenham for one year.