Xavi backs Martino over Bale value

Barcelona midfielder Xavi says he agrees with coach Gerardo Martino's withering assessment of Real Madrid's acquisition of Gareth Bale.

The Welshman is reportedly close to completing a €100 million move from Tottenham to the Spanish capital this week, with the fee set to break the world transfer record previously set by Cristiano Ronaldo's switch to Madrid.

But the Argentine boss slammed the winger's price last week, saying: "Bale is a good player but the number that are being talked about; it is a lack of respect for the world we live in".

And, following a 1-0 victory over Malaga at La Rosaleda on Sunday, Xavi has voiced his support for his manager.

"Tata Martino was correct on his words on Bale, but that’s the market," he said.

A first-half goal from Adriano allowed Barcelona to make it two wins from two in La Liga in Malaga, but the reigning champions' narrow lead was threatened on a number of occasions late on.

After the match, Xavi's midfield colleague Cesc Fabregas expressed delight to have taken three points in testing circumstances.

"In the last five minutes we suffered, but we must also learn to suffer," he said. "We played a very good first half and in the second we have lowered our intensity. We can improve.

"This has been a win that needed much work and is very important. My performance? I always want to do well, I am motivated.

"This is a very important season for me. People want more from me."


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