Real Madrid icon and assistant coach, Zinedine Zidane, says that Gareth Bale was not worth his world record transfer fee.
Los Blancos splurged an estimated €100 million to sign Bale from Tottenham Hotspur, and while the football world unanimously agrees that he is a unique and major talent, it is hard to reconcile his transfer fee with Spain (and the world’s) economic reality.
And Zidane, who was himself the world’s most expensive player when he joined Madrid in 2001, admits that Bale’s price was “incomprehensible.”
However, the legendary Frenchman has also backed Bale to excel at the Bernabeu, and has urged him not to worry excessively about the sum Real paid to sign him.
"You need to ask that question in a year's time,” Zizou told Canal + when asked if Bale is worth the money.
"Ten years ago, they bought me for 75million euros and I said I wasn't worth it.
"Today, I tend to say a player is not worth that. Two clubs agree on a price and no-one is forcing the other to do anything.
"That's football. Unfortunately, it's incomprehensible with what's happening today to pay so much."
"My role will certainly be to tell him that he plays as he knows how to, to not put too much pressure on himself," Zidane added.
"He has an incredible potential but he still has room for improvement."
Meanwhile, without a sense of irony, Arsenal’s record signing Mesut Ozil- who joined the Gunners from Madrid for an estimated £42 million- says that he would have joined the London club for free!
Bale said something similar after joining Los Blancos, and amid all the talk of “incomprehensible” obscenity of the mega spending in football, it’s funny (and implausible) that the players say they would play for nothing.
“Arsene told me exactly how he saw me, how he wanted to use me, what he expected of me,” Ozil told Die Welt, explaining how Gunners boss Arsene Wenger lured him to the Emirates in a phonecall.
“In some way, that conversation flicked a switch in me and made me realise what I had lost at Madrid - transparency, trust, respect.
“I would have even joined Arsenal for free.”