Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho said their pursuit of Gareth Bale was “game over” after the Wales forward started in Real Madrid’s 2-1 European Super Cup win on Tuesday.
Mourinho had said on the eve of the contest between the Champions League and Europa League holders that he would “fight with other clubs” to sign Bale if he did not start the game in Skopje and appeared not to be in coach Zinedine Zidane’s plans.
Real president Florentino Perez also ruled out selling the player he brought to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2013 for a then world record fee of 85.5 million pounds ($111 million).
Bale started up front alongside Karim Benzema in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and laid on the pass for Isco to net Real’s second goal. He narrowly missed out on scoring himself as he thundered a shot against the bar later in the second half.
Despite United spending large periods on the back foot against Real, Mourinho took encouragement from the way his side came back from two goals down to set up a tight finish after Romelu Lukaku reduced the deficit just past the hour.
He also bemoaned the lack of a video assistant referee (VAR) as he criticised the decision to allow Casemiro’s 24th minute opener to stand, although replays showed the Brazilian’s body was broadly in line with United defender Chris Smalling.