Real Madrid: Should the Priority Be Keeping Cristiano Ronaldo, Not Signing Bale?

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterAugust 5, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 01:  Cristiano Ronaldo #7 of Real Madrid controls the ball during the first half of the International Champions Cup match against the Los Angeles Galaxy at University of Phoenix Stadium on August 1, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Gareth Bale saga is set to roll into yet another week, as Neil Ashton suggests Daniel Levy is working to try and negotiate a fee for the Welshman in the Daily Mail.

Tottenham's 21-goal hero is the subject of a bid closing in on the world record, but should Real Madrid really be focusing on tying down the man who originally set that £80 million mark, and furthermore, keeping him happy?

Andre Villas-Boas has had to deny, for the umpteenth time it seems, that Bale is on the verge of switching White Hart Lane for the Santiago Bernabeu, as Jacob Steinberg of The Guardian reports:

I think the rumours that anything is imminent are not true. The only thing we've communicated is that the player is our player and not for sale.

Normally in situations like this in England it is scrutinised by the [Football Association] with lots of care and attention. We have seen lots of people speak about a player that is not theirs and we are due some respect.

Quite the circus, it seems, and yet backstage a contract war has been rumbling with a man already donning the shirt of the Galacticos.

Despite Marca reporting Ronaldo had agreed a new deal worth €17 million per year, AS carry some rather different quotes from the forward's most recent press conference (via Eurosport):

"The situation still hasn't been resolved and I don't think now is the right time to talk about it," said Ronaldo. "Perhaps we'll be able to give more concrete news about this further down the line but now the only thing in my remit is to train and work."

With two years left to run on his existing deal, Madrid are entering dangerous territory.

Despite the feeling that Ronaldo's new deal is simply a matter of time, the high-profile pursuit of Bale has taken the gloss off a man who very much enjoys the limelight.

Manchester United have been continually linked with a return for the player they sold in 2009, while some feel that Bale is an eventual replacement for him.

Can Bale and Ronaldo form a duo that can rival that of Lionel Messi and Neymar at Barcelona, or does Madrid's relentless and public pursuit of Bale pave the way for a Ronaldo exit?

The fans are largely united in believing their club do not need to spend a world-record fee on Bale to remain legitimate contenders for the UEFA Champions League.

But take away their best player in Ronaldo—a man who averages more than a goal a game despite playing from the left wing—and they're a far more ordinary outfit.

Keep Cristiano happy, secure his long-term future and then figure out the rest.