Jonathan Barnett, who represents the Wales star, expects Tottenham to demand a fee well in excess of £50million if they decide to let the 23-year-old leave, however. Barnett did little to play down the idea that Bale would be interested in a move to the nine-time European champions, telling Spanish newspaper Marca: “If (Real Madrid president) Florentino (Perez) is interested in Gareth Bale it would be an honour and we would listen, but Gareth’s contract is with Tottenham. We aren’t free to speak to anyone.” He added: “I do not know if there has already been an offer. What I know is that the player has three years left on his contract. ” Bale has just come through his most successful season, scooping several coveted awards after scoring 31 goals for club and country. Real Madrid have, as a result, taken a keen interest in the forward, with Zinedine Zidane – an advisor to Perez – recently lavishing praise on the former Southampton player. Spurs forged a club partnership with Real last summer as part of the sale of Luka Modric to the Spanish giants. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is renowned for being a tough negotiator – he blocked a £40million bid from Chelsea for Modric the previous year – and he recently vowed to hold on to Bale and Tottenham’s other stars this summer. Bale is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world and given that the price Barcelona paid for Brazil star Neymar is reported to be around £50million, Barnett thinks Tottenham will demand a huge fee. When asked whether Bale would cost more than Neymar, Barnett replied: “Much more. He is a better player than Neymar and he has shown that in one of the best leagues in the world – the Premier League.” Bale has three more years left on his contract, but reports had suggested that Tottenham had opened talks with the Welshman over a new improved deal in order to keep him at White Hart Lane despite the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League. Barnett dismissed that suggestion, saying: “We haven’t talked with anyone.” Gareth Bale’s agent would be “honoured” to speak to Real Madrid over a potential move for his client to the Bernabeu. Press Association
Popular veteran sprinter Bubbly Bellini could join Ado McGuinness’s team at Royal Ascot next month, subject to ground conditions. “We have a few other options, there are a couple of big handicaps at home he could go for, but we’ll see. “His long-term target is the Ayr Gold Cup as he’s more likely to get his ground at that time of year (September). I think that race would suit him perfectly. “He has surprised me this year. I don’t know where he’s got his improvement from, but he’s definitely improved.” Press Association The eight-year-old secured his third victory of 2015 at Cork recently and the trainer believes his charge is better than ever, with a number of big-race options open to the Mull Of Kyntyre gelding. “He’s entered in the Wokingham in Royal Ascot, but he wouldn’t go if the ground was firm.” said McGuinness.
DEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald PhotoLast Saturday, while most Badger faithful were at home cheering on the University of Wisconsin football team, the UW women’s soccer team had one of its most outstanding games of the season.The Badgers knocked off UW-Milwaukee 4-0. It was an exhausting game for the Badgers, but the victory was much valued.Following the game, autograph enthusiasts eagerly awaited for game highlighters Taylor Walsh, Allison Preiss and Katy Lindenmuth to sign their miniature soccer balls.Hats were tipped that night to the offense, but little attention was bestowed upon the defense.Badger faithful seemed to overlook No. 21 Ann Eshun. That night, the sophomore defender was never alone in the backfield, as Panther forwards constantly put pressure on her in their pursuit of a shot on goal. Eshun’s skillful footwork and speed helped goalkeeper Lynn Murray record the Badgers’ third shutout of the season.Eshun also received the opportunity to showcase her offensive mettle, when just over a minute into the game, Eshun made a crucial pass to Walsh, which led to Walsh’s first career goal. It was also the first assist of the year for Eshun and the second of her career. Though Eshun possesses offensive potential, being a defender has always been in her heart. “Obviously there is not a lot of glory in being a defender, but I like it,” Eshun said. “I like getting stuck in, defending people and hitting people, as bad as that sounds, and just keeping them out of our goal.”Eshun has always been a naturally talented defender. Once a basketball star, it took the persuading of her youth travel coach to convince Eshun to take soccer more seriously. She took her coach’s advice and hasn’t regretted her decision to quit basketball.Once Eshun was able to concentrate exclusively on soccer, she found success immediately. While in high school, Eshun helped lead the Madison 56ers to back-to-back state championships.When it came time to decide on where to play soccer in college, her accomplishments led her no further than the 15 miles to UW. Eshun wasted no time adjusting to her new team. In her freshman campaign, the Madison native started 20-of-21 games. She recorded one assist against Ohio and helped her team return to the NCAA tournament. Eshun’s hard work throughout the year was acknowledged when she received the Freshman Award at the conclusion of the season.”It was nice to be appreciated like that,” Eshun said in response to receiving her award. “I shared the award with goalkeeper Lynn Murray, so it was nice for both of us to receive that award.”Though Eshun takes soccer seriously, she is often a jokester off the field, making her teammates laugh, but knowing when to focus. Though she possesses an intense approach to soccer, the sophomore remains calm and relaxed in pressure situations.”On the field Ann is really intense,” teammate and roommate Shannon Terry said. “But whenever she gets the ball, she is really calm. Someone will come at her full speed and calmly she’ll tap the ball and pass it along.””Ann contributes a lot for us on the field,” assistant coach Carrie Barker said about Eshun. “She carries herself very professionally. She’ll have her jokes but knows when to joke around and when not to. When Ann talks, people listen and people respect her for that, and for who she is. She is very intelligent and wise.”Eshun enjoys practicing hard and playing hard and is often viewed as a leader by her teammates and coaches.”She is a starter and a sophomore, but acts like an upperclassman on the field,” Barker said. “She acts like a leader and is very consistent, which is incredible for her.”Though a young leader, Eshun still has some skills to perfect. In the future, Barker sees Eshun becoming one of the premier defenders in the Big Ten. “She still has a lot to learn, but she’ll continue to get better year after year,” Barker said.