Jose Mourinho accepts it is “game over” in Manchester United’s pursuit of Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale.
The build-up to Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup was dominated by transfer speculation after the United boss pledged to “fight” for the Wales international if he was not involved in Skopje.
Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane’s pre-match coyness on the matter did little to quash the chatter, but naming Bale in the starting line-up did.
The 28-year-old produced an impressive performance from the outset, hitting the bar and setting up Isco in a 2-1 defeat of Mourinho’s men in Macedonia.
“Clearly the club wants him, the manager wants him and he wants the club, so for me it’s game over – even before it started,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“It’s game over clearly because everybody knows he is going to stay.”
Bale was substituted towards the end of a match in which Casemiro and Romelu Lukaku joined Isco in netting.
However, it was the Wales attacker who was the subject of the most attention – not that the speculation has thrown him at all.
“I am just concentrating on my football. I am not listening to anything, I don’t read anything, obviously I get told bits and bobs,” he said.
“I am enjoying my football here, I am playing as much as I can and I’m winning trophies so that’s all I am concentrating on.
“I haven’t had any conversations (with Madrid), I am just concentrating on my football, I’m trying to get my fitness up as much as I can after pretty much not playing regularly for eight or nine months.