Gareth Bale: ‘We want to win everything’ at Real Madrid

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Having just secured a move from Tottenham which saw through his £85 million world-record transfer free, Gareth Bale came to Madrid with major expectations, and with a new season about to start, he feels a lot more comfortable where he stands right now, the craziness of his transfer-awaiting days behind him.

“It’s a lot easier having a pre-season under your belt instead of waiting at home for a transfer to go through,” he told Sky Sports prior to the UEFA Super Cup final against Sevilla at Cardiff City Stadium.

“I feel in much better shape this season, I feel I can start at a better tempo and performance so, yeah, I’m looking forward to the season ahead.”

In 2013-14, Bale notched 22 goals and 16 assists in 44 total appearances. If these numbers don’t justify his massive price tag, he quelled most doubters when he buried a vital goal against rival Atletico Madrid to put Real ahead by two goals in the Champions League final, essentially finalizing the victory.

However, cash-heavy Real failed to win the 2014 La Liga title, an accolade they believe always belongs to them, as long as Barcelona is quelled.

“For us every season we want to win every trophy we’re in for, no matter what team we’re playing, no matter what trophy we’re playing for, we want to win everything.”

With the star-studded cast of his squad continually growing, particulary with the summer signing of Toni Kroos and James Rodriquez, Bale will have to work to take his talents to the next level. He must develop his already-excellent physical skills further in cohesion with soccer’s cerebral game. Instead of relying on his pure athleticism, the goal for Bale should revolve around his positioning and general feel for the pitch, and a proficient footballer like Bale can strive to meet this mental aspect in a matter of months. Only then can he exist on the same level Cristiano Ronaldo, who flaunts his status as one of the world’s best, year-in, year-out.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

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Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

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Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Agent Jorge Mendes appears before judge in Falcao tax probe

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MADRID (AP) Football agent Jorge Mendes has told a Spanish judge that he had no involvement in the financial planning of client Radamel Falcao, who has been accused by a state prosecutor of tax fraud.

Mendes, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, appeared before a judge in a Madrid court for 45 minutes on Tuesday as part of the probe into whether there are grounds for the case against Falcao to go to trial.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Mendes’ agency, Gestifute, released a statement saying that “neither he nor his employees have ever intervened in the creation of corporate structures for his clients and much less provided any tax advice to them.”

Last month, a state prosecutor accused Falcao of defrauding Spain’s Tax Office of around $6 million from 2012-13. The alleged unpaid taxes were from money the Colombian player made from endorsement deals through image rights, not from the salary he was then being paid from club Atletico Madrid. Falcao now plays for Monaco.

Arfield, Adekugbe on Canada’s Gold Cup roster

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Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield and on-loan Brighton defender Samuel Adekugbe are among the players who will represent Canada in this summer’s Gold Cup.

Arfield, 28, was born in Scotland and earned the first of seven Canada caps in 2016, and Adekugbe returns to Vancouver from a year-long loan to Brighton and Hove Albion on June 30.

The pair join nine MLS players, two NASL player, and a USL player, with the rest of the group based outside North America.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Notably, Orlando City players Will Johnson and Cyle Larin were not called up by coach Octavio Zambrano.

Goalkeepers: Maxime Crepeau (Montreal), Milan Borjan (MKS Korona Kielce), Jayson Leutwiler (Shrewsbury Town)

Defenders: Samuel Adekugbe (Brighton and Hove Albion), Fraser Aird, Manjrekar James (Vasas Budapest), Dejan Jakovic (New York Cosmos), Adam Straith (FC Edmonton), Steven Vitoria (Lechia Gdansk), Marcel de Jong (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Midfielders: Scott Arfield (Burnley), Patrice Bernier (Montreal), Alphonso Davies (Vancouver), Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC), Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Louisville City FC), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto), Michael Petrasso (QPR), Samuel Piette (CD Izarra), Russell Teibert (Vancouver)

Forwards: Lucas Cavallini (CA Penarol), Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto)