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Real Madrid's Gareth Bale bid 'lacks respect' says Barcelona coach Martino

updated 6:03 PM EDT, Sat August 24, 2013
The transfer window means football is rarely off the newspaper back pages in the off season. Much ink has been already been devoted to the question of whether Spurs' Welsh international Gareth Bale will join Real Madrid. The transfer window means football is rarely off the newspaper back pages in the off season. Much ink has been already been devoted to the question of whether Spurs' Welsh international Gareth Bale will join Real Madrid.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Real Madrid expected to complete world-record signing of Gareth Bale next week
  • Coach of Real's Spanish rival questions need to spend so much in current climate
  • Barcelona's Gerardo Martino says the size of the reported fee "lacks respect"
  • Bale has not played for his English Premier League club Tottenham this season

(CNN) -- Gareth Bale's imminent transfer to Real Madrid for a reported world-record fee has been criticized by Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino.

With Spain struggling amid a tough global economic climate, Martino questioned the appropriateness of Real spending on just one player a figure reputed to be at least $125 million and possibly as much as $145 million.

"He's a very good player, but the numbers seem to me almost a lack of respect for the world in general," the Argentine told reporters on Saturday at a press conference ahead of Barca's trip to Malaga.

Bale, who plays for English Premier League club Tottenham, is next week expected to be unveiled as Real's fifth world-record signing since 2000.

Read: Is Gareth Bale worth $120 million?

It will reportedly happen after Madrid, seeking to win back the La Liga title from Barca, play Granada on Monday in the club's second game this season.

Barca spent $75 million to sign Neymar from Santos in June, but Martino said the Brazil striker is not guaranteed to start Sunday's match in Malaga despite the absence of the injured Lionel Messi.

The four-time world player of the year is being rested as a precaution after suffering a bruised thigh in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Atletico Madrid last Wednesday.

"Honestly, I am not worried because I think he is fine," Martino said of his compatriot.

"What happened the other day was coincidence. I think it is totally unnecessary to take risks at the start of the season."

Read: The transfer window explained

Neymar came off the bench to score the equalizer against Atletico, but Martino played down expectations surrounding the 21-year-old.

"I don't share this idea that says that Neymar must take over and take the lead if Messi is not there to do it," he said.

"We have Xavi, we have Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez, Pedro. There are too many players to expect Neymar to automatically be in the starting line-up.

"Nothing is going to shorten the time we think is necessary for Neymar to be ready."

Bale has reportedly already traveled to Spain, and will not play in Tottenham's home match with Swansea on Sunday.

Friedel: 'Bale can be world's best'
Javier Pastore is the most expensive player in French football history after he cost Paris Saint-Germain a fee believed to be $56 million. But Pastore is not the first footballer to have swapped clubs for a hefty price tag. Javier Pastore is the most expensive player in French football history after he cost Paris Saint-Germain a fee believed to be $56 million. But Pastore is not the first footballer to have swapped clubs for a hefty price tag.
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The 24-year-old Wales international, who became the most sought-after talent on the planet following Neymar's decision to join Barca, also missed the London club's opening match of the EPL season last weekend.

Read: Turkish respite for Arsenal

Spurs have twice broken their club transfer record in apparent preparation for Bale's departure, signing Brazil midfielder Paulinho and Spain striker Roberto Soldado, while a $45 million deal for Willian was hijacked by Chelsea despite the Anzhi Makhachkala player having passed a medical at White Hart Lane last week.

In Saturday's EPL action, Liverpool joined Chelsea on two wins from two games after beating Aston Villa 1-0, as striker Daniel Sturridge followed up his goal from the opening victory over Stoke.

Arsenal, beaten by Villa last weekend, relieved the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger by defeating London rivals Fulham 3-1 as Germany forward Lukas Podolski scored twice and France striker Olivier Giroud netted the other for the visiting team.

Former Villa and England striker Darren Bent marked his Fulham debut with a goal after coming on as a second-half substitute, but Arsenal notched another morale-boosting win ahead of the second leg of the Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahce -- having won 3-0 in Turkey last Wednesday.

Everton drew 0-0 at home to West Brom, and there was also a stalemate between Newcastle and West Ham, while Southampton hit back to hold visiting Sunderland 1-1.

Hull beat Norwich 1-0 but fellow promoted side Crystal Palace crashed to a second successive defeat, losing 2-1 at Stoke.

In La Liga, Valencia crashed 3-1 at Espanyol despite taking the lead through Portuguese forward Helder Postiga.

David Lopez headed a 33rd-minute equalizer before second-half goals from Cristian Stuani and Thievy Bifouma sealed victory for the Barcelona-based team.

Real Sociedad came back to earth with a bump following last week's 2-0 win over Lyon in the final Champions League qualifying round, being held 1-1 at promoted Elche.

Mexico striker Carlos Vela saved Sociedad with a second-half leveler following Ferran Corominas' second-minute opener.

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