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Premier League

Transfer news: Gareth Bale may play in Tottenham friendly this week amid talks over £80m switch to Real Madrid

The Wales international is keen to move to the Bernabeu

The Tottenham Hotspur manager, Andre Villas-Boas, has arranged a behind-closed-doors friendly for his first team at the club's training ground on Thursday against a non-League opponent which could yet give Gareth Bale the chance to play as he waits for Real Madrid to make a decisive move over his future.

The Spurs first team squad players have been given two days off after returning from Hong Kong on Monday but are back in training today. A Spurs XI will play against MK Dons in Milton Keynes today although it is not expected that Bale will feature in that match.

The 24-year-old had a glute injury during Spurs’ stay in Hong Kong for the Premier League Asia Trophy, which prevented him from playing but he is understood to be keen to get some match-time, in spite of the uncertainty over his future. The player himself has made it clear that he would like Spurs to agree a price with Madrid to facilitate a move.

The first-team game tomorrow is against a non-league opponent at Spurs’ training ground in Enfield. Bale has not played for Spurs since the friendly against Swindon Town on 16 July.

The player and his advisors have made it clear to the club that they want the move to Madrid to happen this summer. It is the expectation at the club that only a world-record breaking transfer of more than £80m will be acceptable to chairman Daniel Levy who is now back in Miami on holiday having been in London briefly at the weekend.

In the meantime, Madrid’s famous players past and present have lined up to endorse the club’s move for the Spurs winger. Zinedine Zidane, now an assistant to coach Carlo Ancelotti said in Los Angeles, where the club are currently based on tour, that the chance to play for Madrid came along “once in a lifetime”.

Zidane said: “It is not unusual when a player knows that Real Madrid are interested in them that they get excited. There is nothing more prestigious for a player to wear the white of Real Madrid.

“If he has expressed a desire to join Madrid then Tottenham should give him permission to speak with us. The chance to play for Real Madrid might only come around once in a player's lifetime - and it is understandable that Gareth doesn't want to miss out on it.

“This is modern football - you have to pay to get the best players in Europe. Last season Gareth was on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi. The best players can have not so great games - but change a game with a moment of brilliance. Those are the sort of players that win you Champions League's and League titles. 

“He is already one of the finest player in Europe and he has everything needed to become the best player in the world. It is a bit of a cliche - but it is true you become a better player playing with better players.”

The goalkeeper Iker Casillas said that Bale was “one of the top three or four best players in Europe”. He said: “It's normal that his name is being discussed because he has all the qualities a footballer needs.”