Irrespective of the result, a lingering sense of change accompanied Liverpool's Champions League final appearance.

Reports on Sadio Mane's departure and Mohamed Salah's reticence over a new deal follow Roberto Firmino's status on the periphery this season.

Following Luis Diaz's arrival in January, it appears another South American star is set to land at Anfield via Portugal.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL AGREE TERMS WITH DARWIN NUNEZ

Liverpool have reached an agreement on personal terms with Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, according to the Athletic.

While reports suggest nothing has yet been signed and no agreement between the clubs is in place, they are closer to finalising the deal.

Discussions are ongoing with regards to the structure of the deal, but it is understood any deal will break the £85.5million (€100m) mark.

Jurgen Klopp is said to be an admirer of the 22-year-old, with the club looking to act in the event of Sadio Mane's reported departure for Bayern Munich.

Casemiro says the Real Madrid team is like something from a "movie" as Los Blancos continue to make history.

Madrid eased to their 35th LaLiga title this season, securing the Spanish top-flight triumph with four games to play.

Carlo Ancelotti's side also celebrated Champions League glory, winning the European Cup for the 14th time – more than double any other club has achieved – with victory over Liverpool in Paris.

The 1-0 win over Jurgen Klopp's men at the Stade de France last month was far less dramatic than most expected it to be, given Madrid's route to the final.

Los Blancos turned around a two-goal deficit in the second half of the second leg against Paris Saint-Germain, before staving off a Chelsea fightback to win in extra-time.

Manchester City then seemed to have one foot in the final, but a stoppage-time Rodrygo Goes double followed by Karim Benzema's extra-time penalty secured another sensational victory.

Casemiro has lifted the Champions League trophy five times as a Madrid player and the Brazil international likened their success to something that belongs in Hollywood.

"This team is from a movie. Winning five Champions Leagues in the last eight years only has one definition: making history," he told Spanish daily AS.

"The Champions League won in Paris will be remembered for life. It is the most wonderful European Cup story ever told."

Having led Milan to Champions League glory in 2003 and 2007 and done so with Madrid in 2014 and this year, Ancelotti is the most successful manager in the history of the competition.

Ancelotti is an example in everything. Everything good that happens to him deserves it. He has an infinite illusion for Madrid." Casemiro said of the legendary Italian.

Casemiro has won his Champions League titles alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, who signed a one-year extension on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old revealed Madrid president Florentino Perez affectionately named the midfielders after a trio of famous Spanish opera singers.

"Florentino calls us 'The Three Tenors'. Kroos, Modric and I have earned the right to be remembered for many years," Casemiro continued.

Arnaut Danjuma acknowledged he has "unfinished business in England" but assured he is happy at Villarreal amid speculation over a move to Liverpool.

Danjuma spent two years with Bournemouth before joining Villarreal last August.

The winger was an integral part of Unai Emery's side that reached the Champions League semi-finals, while finishing seventh in LaLiga to qualify for next season's Europa Conference League.

Danjuma led the Villarreal scoring charts in all competitions (16), while only Gerard Moreno can match his 20 direct goal involvements for the Yellow Submarine in the 2021-22 campaign.

Only Samuel Chukwueze (73) and Etienne Capoue (50) completed more dribbles than the Netherlands international, who has starred on the flanks or in a more central role for Emery.

That has led to interest from Liverpool, who could be looking to replace Sadio Mane if the forward joins Bayern Munich, but Danjuma insists he has heard nothing from the Premier League club.

"We've all read what has been said in the press, but I am a quick learner," he told Sky Sports News. "I did an interview in Holland saying I'm aware of the interest.

"They asked me if I was aware of it and I am, as everyone is. I'm aware of it, you are aware of it because it has been in the press. My phone literally went off all the time.

"In that sense, I am aware of it because of the media but I never actually confirmed the interest from Liverpool because the only one that confirms it to me is my team.

"I haven't heard anything from my team and as it stands now, I am enjoying my football at Villarreal. I am really happy there. We had a fantastic season.

"Unai Emery has been fantastic to me. The striking coach has been fantastic to me. The entire club has been unbelievable to me so I'd never in that way downgrade the club I’m playing for."

As for returning to England with a point to prove, Danjuma would like to put the record straight in the Premier League.

"There is definitely unfinished business for me in England," he added. "If you look back to the reasons why I joined Bournemouth initially it was for me to play Premier League football."

Gennaro Gattuso has been appointed as head coach of Valencia on a deal until June 2024.

The Milan great replaces Jose Bordalas, who was dismissed just one season into a two-year contract after a campaign in which Valencia finished ninth and lost the Copa del Rey final to Real Betis.

A short statement from Valencia read: "Valencia CF have reached an agreement with Gennaro Gattuso who will become the first-team coach of Valencia CF for the next two seasons until 30th of June 2024.

"Gennaro Gattuso (9th of January 1978, Italy) joins the Club following an extensive career both as a player and as a coach. After hanging up the boots, he started his coaching career in 2012 coaching teams like AC Milan and SSC Napoli, with whom he won the Coppa Italia in 2020."

Gattuso spent 18 months in charge of the Rossoneri after being appointed in November 2017, narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification by a solitary point during his one full season in charge.

He later took over Napoli, who he led to Coppa Italia glory in the 2019-20 season but Gattuso departed a year later after again missing out on Champions League qualification.

The 44-year-old was appointed Fiorentina boss in May last year only for the two parties to rescind that agreement a month later.

Gattuso has also had spells in charge of Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete and Pisa prior to re-joining Milan – initially with their Primavera side.

As a player, Gattuso won two Serie A titles and two Champions League medals during a glittering 13-year stay with Milan, while he was also a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006.

The seemingly never-ending 2021-22 season may be ongoing, with a number of big international fixtures still to be played this month, but plenty of focus is already on the next campaign.

This month's conclusion will mark the end of an era for many players as their contracts come to an end – though for some it will provide a much-needed opportunity to begin a new chapter elsewhere.

For others, becoming a free agent simply provides more bargaining power when negotiating fresh terms with their current employers, at a time when most clubs cannot spend as frivolously on new players as they once could.

While some big-name freebies have already moved clubs, and others are reported to have signed pre-contract agreements elsewhere – such as Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen at Barcelona – others remain on the market.

Here, Stats Perform picks out some of those who are on the lookout for a new club.


Player: Paul Pogba
Current club: Manchester United
Rumoured suitors: Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain

United last week announced the departures of six players, with Juan Mata, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard and Pogba among them. While the first three of those will undoubtedly be of interest to teams across the continent, Pogba is arguably the most in-demand free agent around.

Juventus reportedly lead the way for the France international, who won eight trophies in four seasons with the Serie A giants prior to rejoining United in 2016. Whichever side of the divide you stand – that Pogba has too often been used out of position or is just simply not good enough – there is no denying his second spell at Old Trafford has not gone to plan.

Still, with 67 goals and assists in the Premier League since the start of 2016-17, United are waving goodbye to a player who has been involved in 17.5 per cent of their goals across that period – only Marcus Rashford (21.9 per cent) has directly contributed to more.

 

Player: Gareth Bale
Current club: Real Madrid
Rumoured suitors: Cardiff City, Getafe, MLS clubs

As the winner of 16 trophies across nine seasons at Madrid – one of those spent on loan at Tottenham – and still aged just 32, you would imagine Bale would have the pick of the world's top clubs to choose from in the upcoming transfer window.

But that is not quite the case, with hometown club Cardiff City and Madrid-based Getafe now considered the two favourites to land the Wales international. That does come with a caveat of sorts, though, as Bale's main focus is on entering November's World Cup with Wales in peak fitness, rather than adding to his trophy collection.

The forward has had a number of injury setbacks in recent years but, wherever he plies his trade next season, he will want to play more football than he did in 2021-22 when available. He featured in just seven of Madrid's 56 matches, totalling 290 minutes on the field, and started only four of those – seven per cent of all minutes Madrid played.

 

Player: Ousmane Dembele
Current club: Barcelona
Rumoured suitors: Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool

Barcelona were eager to get Dembele off their books in January, so much so that director of football Mateu Alemany publicly told the France international to find a new club "immediately". Five months on, after a strong second half to the 2021-22 season, Barca would like nothing more than to retain Dembele's services.

The former Borussia Dortmund attacker assisted 11 LaLiga goals between the start of 2022 and the end of the season, a tally that no other player across Europe's top five leagues could match, with Lionel Messi next best on 10 with PSG in Ligue 1.

Re-signing Messi has been touted, but that seems fanciful a year on from his emotional exit, so Barca may well focus on tying Dembele down to a new deal before PSG – who also have another ex-Barcelona favourite in Neymar on their books – add to a star-studded frontline.

 

Player: Paulo Dybala
Current club: Juventus
Rumoured suitors: Arsenal, Tottenham, Barcelona

Juventus are coming off the back of their first trophyless season in a decade, and with it comes the end of an era in many ways as Giorgio Chiellini is departing after 18 years in Turin, while Federico Bernardeschi is also on his way out and seemingly set for Napoli.

However, the name on everyone's lips right now is Dybala's, even if the Argentina international has not fully lived up to the admittedly huge hype following his arrival at Juve from Palermo in a €40million transfer seven years ago.

Dybala can still be pleased enough with his goalscoring return at the Allianz Stadium, having netted 115 goals in 293 appearances in all competitions, making him the club's third-highest foreign goalscorer of all time behind David Trezeguet (171) and John Hansen (124).

 

Player: Angel Di Maria 
Current club: Paris Saint-Germain
Rumoured suitors: Juventus, Barcelona

Di Maria signed off from PSG in the near-perfect manner with a goal and an assist in his final game for the club against Metz last month, though his importance clearly diminished following the arrival of Messi as he started just 19 Ligue 1 games last term, down from 23 in the two previous campaigns.

That performance against Metz, albeit in a dead-rubber, highlighted Di Maria's quality when used and it is perhaps little surprise that some big-name clubs are interested. A move to Juventus seemed a certainty not so long ago, but Barcelona are supposedly now the frontrunners for the 34-year-old.

Di Maria is not the only South American attacker available to sign on a free next month, either, as the aforementioned Cavani and Uruguay international team-mate Luis Suarez are also on the lookout for a new club following their exits from United and Atletico Madrid respectively.

Getafe president Angel Torres has claimed that the LaLiga side have been offered the chance to sign Gareth Bale following the forward's Real Madrid departure.

Bale will officially become a free agent at the end of this month when his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, where he has spent the past eight seasons, officially expires.

The 32-year-old is on the lookout for a new club to maintain his fitness after inspiring Wales to their first World Cup in 64 years with victory over Ukraine on Sunday.

That ended any talk of an early retirement, with a number of clubs being credited with an interest in Bale, including hometown team Cardiff City and sides in Major League Soccer.

However, Bale may yet remain in the Spanish capital with LaLiga club Getafe, who finished 15th in 2021-22.

Speaking at an event on Wednesday, Getafe president Torres told reporters: "I spoke with the representatives of Gareth Bale about 45 minutes ago.

"They have offered him to us. But we will have to study it with our technical staff and also the sports management team."

 

Bale won 16 trophies during his time with Madrid, but he barely played in the 2021-22 campaign, which ended with Los Blancos winning a LaLiga and Champions League double.

He featured in seven of Madrid's 56 matches in all competitions – 13 per cent – with just four of those being starts.

Confirming his departure from Madrid last week, Bale tweeted: "I arrived here nine years ago as a young man who wanted to realise my dream of playing for Real Madrid. 

"To wear the pristine white kit, to wear the crest on my chest, to play at the Bernabeu, to win titles and to be part of what it's so famous for, to win the Champions League.

"I can now look back, reflect and say with honesty that this dream became a reality and much, much more.

"To be a part of this club's history and to achieve what we achieved while I was a Real Madrid player, has been an incredible experience and one I will never forget.

"I also want to thank president Florentino Perez, Jose Angel Sanchez and the board for giving me the opportunity to play for this club.

"Together we were able to create some moments that will live forever in the history of this club and football. It has been an honour."

Luka Modric has agreed to extend his trophy-laden Real Madrid stay to over a decade by signing a one-year contract extension.

The European and LaLiga champions on Wednesday confirmed that Modric will remain at the Santiago Bernabeu for another season.

Modric joined Los Blancos from Tottenham in August 2012 and has made over 400 appearances for the club.

The 36-year-old midfielder pulled the strings as Carlo Ancelotti's side completed a Champions League and LaLiga double in a glorious 2021-22 season.

Modric has won the Champions League five times, three LaLiga titles, lifted the Club World Cup on four occasions and the Copa del Rey once during his long spell in the Spanish capital.

The Croatia captain also has three European Super Cup winners' medals and has celebrated Supercopa de Espana success four times.

Modric, who won his 150th cap for his country in a 1-1 Nations League draw with France on Monday, will go in search of more honours next season after putting pen to paper on a new deal.

With Marcus Rashford reportedly drawing interest from Italy, Spain and even Tottenham, Manchester United are trying to keep him at Old Trafford by placing a price-tag on him "between £70million and £80m".

In a disappointing campaign, the 24-year-old scored just five goals from 32 games in all club competition, and he did not play a full 90 minutes in any of the five Champions League fixtures he was healthy for (subbed on twice, subbed off three times).

His Premier League season also did not go to plan, missing the first seven games due to a shoulder injury, and finishing with 12 of his 25 appearances coming off the bench.

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS LOOK TO KEEP RIVALS AWAY FROM RASHFORD

The exact figures of "between £70m and £80m" came from Italian super-agent Roberto De Fanti during an exclusive interview with CaughtOffside, where he said he expected United to ask for "around £40m, maybe £50m."

De Fanti mentioned he was aware of interest from "all the top sides in Spain and Italy" and that Rashford's management had met with Tottenham about a potential deal, but Spurs "feel negotiating a deal for Rashford is virtually impossible" due to the asking price.

Emphasising that it is not a case of United trying to scrounge every possible dollar out of a sale, De Fanti said "United are confident a club is unlikely to pay that [figure]", and that he is not on the list of players Erik ten Hag is planning on selling to fund up to six new signings.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to The Sun, Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has been contacting Inter since Christmas in an attempt to expedite a transfer away from Stamford Bridge.

– Todofichajes is reporting Liverpool view Chelsea's Christian Pulisic as a potential replacement for Sadio Mane, with the American's price-tag said to be in the range of £42m.

West Ham United sent scouts to watch Denmark's recent Nations League fixture, with the Daily Star reporting they are interested in both Christian Eriksen and Atalanta right-back Joakim Maehle.

– According to De Telegraaf, Barcelona are willing to part ways with Frenkie de Jong if they receive what they perceive to be a fair offer, with Manchester United leading the race.

– The Express is reporting that Newcastle United have set their sights on Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin after missing out on Bayer Leverkusen star Moussa Diaby.

Robert Lewandowski feels no enmity towards Bayern Munich and will not force an exit, but he insists letting him depart would be in everyone's best interests. 

Barcelona have been heavily linked with a move for Lewandowski, who wants to leave the Bundesliga champions instead of extending a contract that is due to expire next year. 

The Poland international this week said "something has died" within him, and that he wants to leave Bayern to "experience new emotions." 

Bayern have remained adamant that Lewandowski must see out his contract, with reports suggesting Barca may struggle to finance a move for the 33-year-old. 

Lewandowski insists the Bavarian giants will be better off if they avoid letting him leave on a free transfer next year and bring an end to their disagreement. 

"I think it's better for Bayern to invest the money they can get for me than to keep me until the end of the contract," Lewandowski told Bild. 

"I don't want to force anything, that's not the point. It's all about finding the best solution. 

"I want it to end: the emotions have to cool down. I want to speak calmly, not through the media. I know that a conflict makes a lot of headlines. But FC Bayern and I are not enemies." 

He added: "I'm not egoistic. I know what I had at Bayern and appreciate it very much. I also know that I've been doing my best not to disappoint the club or the fans for eight years." 

Lewandowski scored 35 Bundesliga goals for Bayern in the 2021-22 season, securing him the European Golden Shoe for the second successive year. 

The Poland captain is the only player in Bundesliga history (with a minimum of 10 appearances) to have scored more goals (312) than his team has conceded while he was on the pitch (311). 

Liverpool's Champions League final loss seemingly signalled the end for Sadio Mane at Anfield.

Luis Diaz's January transfer and fresh links to further potential signings at Anfield may all lead to Mane's eventual departure. 

And he might not be the only Reds superstar looking to the exit.

TOP STORY – SALAH WEIGHS UP BARCELONA MOVE

Mohamed Salah has reconsidered his future at Liverpool after an offer from Barcelona, according to the Mirror.

The 29-year-old had reportedly informed close friends he was willing to commit his playing future to Liverpool, with his contract expiring at the end of next season and talks over a renewal ongoing.

But reports suggested Barca's subsequent promise to sign him on a free transfer at the end of next season has prompted the Egypt international to reconsider his options at Anfield.

If Salah does not confirm an extension this off-season, it brings a number of other clubs into play, opening the possibility of him leaving as a free agent after what would be six years. 

ROUND-UP

Sadio Mane has already asked Reds team-mate Thiago Alcantara if he can move into his house in the event he signs for Bayern Munich, the Daily Mail reports.

– Manchester United have yet to lodge an official bid for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, but the Catalan club are open to selling him, per Sport.

– United are also keen on signing Inter right-back Denzel Dumfries, Calciomercato claims.

– Thomas Tuchel's primary defensive target for Chelsea remains Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde, according to talkSPORT.

Retired Real Madrid and Brazil legend Ronaldo Nazario has made true on his promise to cycle from Valladolid to Santiago de Compostela following their promotion to LaLiga.

The 45-year-old, who also owns his first professional club Cruzeiro, bought a controlling 51 per cent stake in the club in 2018 and has overseen their return to the Spanish top flight as president.

To help Ronaldo on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage made by thousands each year, he is riding an electric bike.

Commencing his trek from Valladolid's Estadio Jose Zorrilla with girlfriend Celina Locks, the 'poorly conditioned' World Cup winner insisted he is happy to follow through on that promise.

"When we were relegated, I knew we had to do a lot of work to get back to the Primera Division," Ronaldo said.

"I made the promise, we have done a very good job, especially at the beginning of the year with all the changes we made, all the philosophy we have changed.

"It will be beautiful. I know that I will suffer physically, but it will be an unforgettable experience."

The Pucelanos earned automatic promotion back to LaLiga a year after they were relegated from LaLiga, finishing equal on points with title-winning Almeria.

They booked their place in the Spanish top flight on the final day of the league season, leapfrogging Eibar and beating them to automatic promotion by a point, after they lost in injury time to Alcorcon.

Retired Real Madrid and Brazil legend Ronaldo Nazario has made true on his promise to cycle from Valladolid to Santiago de Compostela following their promotion to LaLiga.

The 45-year-old, who also owns his first professional club Cruzeiro, bought a controlling 51 per cent stake in the club in 2018 and has overseen their return to the Spanish top flight as president.

To help Ronaldo on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage made by thousands each year, he is riding an electric bike.

Commencing his trek from Valladolid's Estadio Jose Zorrilla with girlfriend Celina Locks, the 'poorly conditioned' World Cup winner insisted he is happy to follow through on that promise.

"When we were relegated, I knew we had to do a lot of work to get back to the Primera Division," Ronaldo said.

"I made the promise, we have done a very good job, especially at the beginning of the year with all the changes we made, all the philosophy we have changed.

"It will be beautiful. I know that I will suffer physically, but it will be an unforgettable experience."

The Pucelanos earned automatic promotion back to LaLiga a year after they were relegated from LaLiga, finishing equal on points with title-winning Almeria.

They booked their place in the Spanish top flight on the final day of the league season, leapfrogging Eibar and beating them to automatic promotion by a point, after they lost in injury time to Alcorcon.

Kylian Mbappe, Vinicius Junior and Erling Haaland are the three most valuable players in world football, according to research group CIES Football Observatory.

Mbappe comes in as the most valuable having had a stellar season with Paris Saint-Germain, with 60 goal involvements (39 goals, 21 assists) in 46 games in all competitions.

Vinicius won the LaLiga and Champions League double with Real Madrid, while Haaland is soon to make a lucrative move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City after scoring 86 goals in 89 games during his time in Germany.

Mbappe turned down a move to Madrid to sign a new three-year deal with PSG last month, and the France international and World Cup winner is valued at an estimated €205.6million (£175.7m) by the CIES.

 

Vinicius is second at €185.5m (£158.3m), while Haaland supposedly has a value of €152.9m (£130.4m) despite costing City just €60m (£51m) thanks to a release clause.

The rest of the top 10 includes Barcelona trio Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Ferran Torres, City's Phil Foden and Ruben Dias, Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and Liverpool's Luis Diaz.

CIES' research is based on a range of measures such as age, value of club, level of player performance and inflation.

The CIES report states: "The statistical model to estimate the transfer values for players from teams of the five major European leagues was built from a sample of 1,790 paid transfers carried out between July 2012 and January 2020.

"The correlation between the sums paid and estimated is greater than 80 per cent. This shows that the variables taken into account explain more than four-fifths of the gaps in the level of fees paid for transfers included in the model."

 

Top 10 valued players in world football (according to CIES Football Observatory)
1. Kylian Mbappe (PSG) - €205.6m (£175.7m)
2. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) - €185.5m (£158.3m)
3. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) - €152.9m (£130.4m)
4. Pedri (Barcelona) - €135.1m (£115.4m)
5. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) - €133.7m (£114.2m)
6. Phil Foden (Man City) - €124.0m (£105.9m)
7. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona) - €112.5m (£96.1m)
8. Luis Diaz (Liverpool) - €110.1m (£94.0m)
9. Ruben Dias (Man City) - €109.6m (£93.6m)
10. Ferran Torres (Barcelona) - €109.5m (£93.5m)

Pep Guardiola cannot foresee Bayern Munich letting Robert Lewandowski leave nor Barcelona having the financial power to sign the striker.

Lewandowski is contracted to Bayern until the end of next season, but he is attempting to engineer a move to Camp Nou a year earlier amid interest from the Catalan giants.

The Poland captain declared his story was over at Bayern at the end of May, as disputes over contract proposals between his agent and the Bundesliga champions continued.

While Lewandowski appears intent on joining Xavi's side, there remain questions as to the finances behind a deal, with LaLiga boss Javier Tebas stating Barca cannot afford the 33-year-old unless they sell at least one prized asset.

Blaugrana president Joan Laporta hit back at Tebas' comments, but Barca's economic vice president Eduard Romeu admitted the club must sell players before they would be in a position to land Lewandowski.

Manchester City boss and Blaugrana legend Guardiola, speaking at the Legends Golf Trophy event in Mallorca, expressed his doubts over whether Lewandowski will move to Spain.

"It seems that they have it difficult," he said on Monday. "His career speaks for itself. We are talking about Lewandowski, he adapts to any place.

"But I don't know, I don't know if the economic situation can allow him to join, I don't know if Bayern will let him go. I already have other problems!"

 

Guardiola guided City to their fourth Premier League title in five seasons last month and his side will be bolstered by the imminent arrival of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

It has been reported Bernardo Silva is a target of Barca should Frenkie de Jong leave for Manchester United.

Guardiola would only comment on Barca's financial situation, though, as he detailed his hopes that the Blaugrana will return as a dominant force in his homeland.

"Looks like they're having it tough," he said when asked of Silva. "I hope everything goes well for them but with the situation they have they cannot do great things.

"There are moments in history, everyone has to accept it when the situation is the way it is and sometimes going with low expectations will help you to rise very quickly.

"The expectations can be low because of the situation not because of the lack of quality of the coaches, the players or the board of directors. 

"The perception I have is good, but you have to go calmly. Everyone knows that if the situation isn't good you can't make big signings. You have to think about winning the next game."

Hollywood actor and Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney has suggested the Welsh club may be interested in signing Gareth Bale…although his tongue may have been firmly in his cheek.

The Wales international, who helped his nation qualify for their first World Cup in 64 years on Sunday with a 1-0 playoff win against Ukraine, is out of contract at Real Madrid at the end of this month.

Bale said after the game in Cardiff that he has already received a number of offers for next season, and McElhenney - who co-owns Wrexham with fellow Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds - hinted that one may have come from the non-league club.

Wrexham were denied promotion from the National League after a dramatic 5-4 defeat to Grimsby Town in the playoff semi-finals, but could an audacious move for Bale from the ambitious owners be on the cards?

Quote-tweeting ESPN UK, who asked: "Where will we see Gareth Bale next season?", McElhenney wrote: "I've got a few ideas."

It seems somewhat unlikely that the man who has scored 107 goals in 258 games for Madrid will be turning out at the Racecourse Ground next season, but stranger things have happened, especially when Hollywood is involved.

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