Mauricio Pochettino admits Gareth Bale could return to Tottenham from Real Madrid at some stage, saying “you never know in football”.

The Wales international left Spurs for Spain as part of a record-breaking transfer in the summer of 2013.

Early success was enjoyed with Madrid, with Bale now boasting a league title and three Champions League crowns, but injury struggles have blighted his time in La Liga.

A return to England has been mooted for some time, with Manchester United being heavily linked with a big-money approach, but Pochettino concedes the 28-year-old may end up back at Spurs.

Quizzed on a potential switch, the Argentine coach told reporters: “I saw him in Madrid when we played there.

“Always he keeps in contact with the people here that he worked with in the past. But then I don’t know because I don’t have a close relationship with him or his people.

“Of course he is a fantastic player and you never know in football what can happen.”

While nothing can be ruled out at this stage, Bale and his representatives have sought to play down the Real exit rumours at regular intervals.

With transfer talk building again ahead of the opening of the January window, Jonathan Barnett told Fichajes in November: “He wants to play the rest of his life at Real Madrid.

“He loves Madrid, the city, life and he loves the club. Of course it hurts him when the people don’t support him and they do with other players who aren’t so good. It’s crazy, this happens only in Spain and I don’t understand it, fans should understand this and know how good he is.”

Bale has been restricted to just 10 appearances and three goals for Real this season as a result of a succession of fitness issues.

He is, however, expected to come back into contention once again as the Blancos prepare to defend their Club World Cup crown in Abu Dhabi. – Goal

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