Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez has revealed he made an attempt to sign Gareth Bale during his time at Liverpool.
Recently Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher claimed that Benitez didn’t sign the £90m forward because he rated John Arne Riise better.
Rafa has rubbished such claims and said he indeed tried to sign the Real Madrid forward back in 2006, but Southampton didn’t want to sell their prized asset.
“Back in 2006 I went to see Bolton-Southampton,” Benitez said as quoted by ESPN. “We transferred a player to Southampton but they wouldn’t give us Bale.
“Then when we tried to buy him, we couldn’t. I’ve known for a long time he was a great player. Carragher has made the mistake of saying I preferred Riise when it wasn’t like that.’’
Bale joined Real Madrid in 2013 from Tottenham Hotspur for a record transfer fee, but he has been constantly linked with a move to Manchester United.
Back in August, reports emerged that Manchester United had made a £90m bid for Bale. However, Bale has repeatedly made it clear that he is enjoying his life at Madrid and certainly not keen to return to the Premier League.
Rafa Benitez has also hit back at claims from Sam Allardyce that he had done nothing special with Liverpool’s 2015 Champions League success and insisted the new Sunderland manager’s opinion “does not have a lot of value”.
Allardyce in his new autobiography says that Liverpool’s stunning Champions League victory over AC Milan has nothing to do with Benitez’s tactics (which he describes as a pure luck) rather the credit solely goes to then club skipper Steven Gerrard only.
Benitez told Spanish radio station Onda Cero, via ESPN:
“Do you know who Sam Allardyce is? Do you know how many trophies he has won? Well that’s my answer. It is what happens when someone has a book to sell. His opinion does not have a lot of value.”