“When I have five minutes I’m going to Safari to check the Madrid website – to see what they say.”
Gareth Bale isn’t alone in leaving Real Madrid under a bit of a cloud. And his manager Jose Mourinho couldn’t resist a sly dig at the Spanish giants after Bale came off the bench to score the first goal of his loan spell back with Tottenham and deliver a 2-1 win over Brighton.
Bale was frozen out at the Bernabeu despite winning four Champions League titles and barely featured as Real won the league post-lockdown.
But he combined with another former Real player – left-back Sergio Reguilon – to score his first Premier League goal in seven years and send Mourinho’s side up to second.
Mourinho, of course, had his own fiery exit from Madrid after winning the league title there.
“Of course I’m very pleased with Bale – he deserves that,” Mourinho said.
“He knows we care about him and we know he cares about us, the team and the club, Spurs. He’s the perfect fit, he’s very calm, very intelligent, he has good feelings.
“He had bad feelings before, because the training process was hard, and his body was suffering a little bit, but we gave him what he needs as a whole.
“I am speaking about sports science, medical, my assistants, the other players. I’m very pleased for him to score this winning goal.”
For the record, Real Madrid’s website had no mention of the Bale goal as of Sunday night.
‘It sounds worse in months’
Bale’s last goal for Tottenham came on the final day of the 2012-13 season – a last-minute winner no less – and his powerful header was his first goal since January.
However, he was quick to point out that that sounds worse than it is. Being benched and then having a knee injury means it was only actually a run of eight club appearances without a goal that came to an end.
“I haven’t scored since January but it’s only about five games!” he said. “It sounds worse in months.
“It’s been amazing since I came back, I settled in straight away and the team have been amazing with me.
“I’m very happy to be here and playing football again for a great club.”
‘He has turned into a world-class player’
Peter Crouch, who played with Bale at Tottenham, speaking to Match of the Day 2: “He has definitely improved on his heading. He wasn’t a great header of the ball when I played with him.
“He has turned into a world-class player and worked on his game at Real Madrid. He is 6ft-plus, he’s big and strong.
“That’s definitely something he has worked on at Real Madrid. You look at someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, you can still be a flare player but add 10-15 goals to your game from headers.
“He is definitely a different player now than the player he was that went to Madrid.”
‘What a time to be alive’ – How Spurs fans got excited on Twitter
craig: Seeing Bale score a winner for Spurs after all these years was such an incredible feeling
Rhino: Welcome home @GarethBale11 you wonderful wonderful man
GIGI BRASIANO: So happy for @GarethBale11, amazing to see him score for us again. Such a shame there were no fans present. The roar would of been unreal. But, a great win after a battling performance
Stuart M: Yes Gareth!! Buzzing for you to grab the winner in a tough game and we finally get that first home win this season and up to second!
Zeus: We live in a world that has Kane and Bale on the scoresheet for Tottenham, what a time to be alive
Stephen Martinio: Nearly 7 years I’ve waited in hope of this moment. Amazing to see this man back scoring for Spurs tonight.