Tottenham 'open' to Bale return

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale would be welcomed back at Tottenham, according to head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham are "open" to a White Hart Lane return for Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, with head coach Mauricio Pochettino revealing: "We keep his place warm back here".

Bale has come in for criticism during his second season with the European champions, and his anonymous performance in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first-leg defeat to Juventus this week saw him attract further negative attention.

"If he is not comfortable in Madrid, we keep his place warm back here," said Pochettino, who arrived at Tottenham after Bale had secured a world record switch to the Santiago Bernabeu. "We are open for him!

"It is, of course, not easy when you arrive at a huge club like Real Madrid, and the way they play. Gareth Bale has the quality to make a success, he just needs time.

"When [Zinedine] Zidane went to Real Madrid, the first season was very difficult for him, with a lot of critics. He needed time to adapt.

"The cultures are very different between England and Spain. It is very difficult for English players to arrive in Spain, there is a Siesta, you eat later.

"It is better when you come from Spain to England, when you go there, you need one or two seasons to adapt.

"I think here it is better to develop your passion in your job as a player or manager, but in Spain, for the weather, for the culture, it is difficult to adapt when you come from England. He just needs time."