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Friday, March 15, 2019

Bale's agent spoke about the many issues facing the former Spurs star in Madrid, including his relationship with returning boss Zinedine Zidane Gareth Bale’s agent has said the Welshman has no plans to leave Real Madrid this summer and even wants to retire at the Santiago Bernabeu. Bale has endured a difficult few months in the Spanish capital and is often greeted with jeers from his own team's supporters. The 29-year-old also doesn’t seem to be much more popular with his team-mates, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois recently criticised him publicly. As a result, Bale has been linked with a move away from Real on an almost daily basis. But, his agent Jonathan Barnett has denied there is any truth in such reports and says his client would even like to spend the rest of his career at the club. "He wants to play all his career for Real Madrid and if it does not work out, we will talk again," said Bennett on BBC Radio 5 Live's Football Daily podcast. "He will talk with Mr [Zinedine] Zidane, take it from there and then see at the end of the season." Bale, like the rest of his Madrid team-mates, found out earlier this week that former manager Zinedine Zidane has returned as Los Blancos’ coach. The once world-record signing reportedly did not enjoy a good relationship with Zidane during his first tenure, something Bennet made reference to. “Gareth wanted to play one way and Zidane wanted to play another. That was the cause of it and over a period of time it got worse. "If you let Gareth play the way he wants to play, having a run of games in a row not in and out, he can be right up there with Cristiano Ronaldo. He still has a great talent. "Gareth is very strong. He is a very strong-willed person and does not care what the press say. The jeering [from fans] is not something that bothers him, he does not understand what he has to do. "Look at his record, what he has won and how he has played. In years to come, these people who are booing him, their children will be looking at the goals he scored and will be saying, 'what a wonderful player’.” Barnett also commented on the media suggestions that Bale is not liked by his Real team-mates. “Bale is a very quiet man,” he said. “He has been accused of some terrible crimes like not wanting to stay out until 1am. That is terrible and every paper said that was disgusting. Can you imagine the reaction of the papers here if they saw an English player out at 1am? "He loves to be fit, he has a regime and he sticks to it. He is the perfect pro. He is very friendly with everyone, they know what he does and playing golf on a day off is not a crime. If anybody from the club wants to play he is available. He is fine, loves life in Madrid and has always been happy. It is very unfair of the press. "I assure you Gareth does not read the papers about himself. The press are wrong to behave like that, it incites the fans. "I also have a big gripe with the British press in that he is one of, if not the best, export that has ever left Britain to play abroad, one of the best players Britain has ever produced and unbelievably, even the newspapers in England don't stop knocking him. "Ronaldo would never get knocked in Portugal, Lionel Messi wouldn't in Argentina, Neymar would not get knocked in Brazil.”

Newcastle coach Nathan Brown wonders what Paul Gallen and the Sharks think of the Knights now.
The new-look Newcastle pack, spear-headed by NSW and Australian prop David Klemmer, won a points decision against the hard-nosed Sharks forwards at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.
It was Newcastle's first victory over Cronulla since 2014 and ended an eight-game losing streak against the Sharks.
Cronulla won 48-10 and 38-12 in the two games last year, and 62-0 and 36-4 in 2016, which explains why Brown was so pleased with their effort on Friday night.
"Gal's made some comments, and he was probably saying what a lot of good, hardened forwards have probably thought of us ...," Brown explained.
"Gal's not frightened to say what he thinks, but I'd be more interested to see what Gal thinks of us now … It would be interesting to see if he thinks we're an improved footy side."
When pushed by the Sharks, Klemmer and fellow recruits Tim Glasby and James Gavet pushed back, refusing to concede the middle third of the field.
The Sharks scrambled well and defended their line time and again but could not crack the Knights on the advantage line.
"To only have a penalty try scored against us against the Sharks is a big plus for our club, from where we've been," Brown said.
"They've given it to us in the middle part of the field. They've got good, experienced players there and they've just physically been better than us, but tonight, I would think their impression of us would be a little bit different than what it used to be, after tonight."
Former Sharks winger Edrick Lee made the match-winning play in the 75th minute, anticipating a pass from Chad Townsend, picking it off, and returning it 85 metres to score under the posts and break an 8-8 deadlock.
Three minutes earlier, Lee conceded a penalty try when he tackled Sione Katoa, who was chasing Shaun Johnson's grubber kick into Newcastle's in-goal.
Lee's intercept try was a fitting reward after his ball-and-all tackles on Sharks danger man Josh Dugan shut down at least three attacking raids in the first half.
"We got it from a defensive play. Edrick had an outstanding night on defence, and his reward was what he got,” Brown said.
"He was outstanding. I think Edrick is probably a better player than what he thinks, to be honest with you."
Lee said he saw the Sharks run the same play in the first half, and made the right decision when he saw Andrew Fifita make an angled run to link with Townsend.
"I didn't know the move until I replayed it in my head at half-time, and I recognised the shape and recognised the personnel and who started it, with Andrew running that shape," Lee explained.
"So I knew the shape and managed to back myself and it is what it is.
"It was unbelievable. Once I snagged the intercept and managed to run 20, I heard the crowd and the crowd took over and I had a big smile on my face."
Brown was encouraged to see his team win against a finals-calibre side without playmakers Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga dominating proceedings.
"If we'd come here tonight and said that we were going to win and 'Pearcey' and Kalyn weren't going to be in the best three or four players, I think everyone would have laughed at us," Brown said.
"That's the most pleasing thing, because the offence bit, that will happen over time, but the courage and commitment to the defence and to hang in there against a good footy side who will probably out-grit nearly anyone, that’s the pleasing thing."
The Knights will be without bench prop Daniel Saifiti against Penrith in round two.
Saifiti suffered a knee injury in the 47th minute against Cronulla and will have scans this weekend to determine the extent of the damage but Brown said he was resigned to spending some time on the sidelines.