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Rafa Benitez reveals how close Gareth Bale came to joining Liverpool

Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez has revealed that star winger Gareth Bale could have joined Liverpool back in 2006 when he was in charge of the Anfield club, the Metro reports.

Bale was the subject of some intense and unrelenting transfer speculation over the summer before returning to the Madrid first team for the side’s most recent fixture against cross city neighbours Atletico and has been earmarked as a key member of Benitez’s squad (via Metro).

Benitez is a known admirer of the Welshman, and now it appears as though he has been waiting to work with him for some time after revealing he tried to sign Bale back when he was in charge of Liverpool.

Speaking on Spanish radio station Onda Cera (via Daily Mirror), Benitez claimed: “Back in 2006 I went to see Bolton-Southampton. We transferred a player to Southampton but they wouldn’t give us Bale.

“Then when we tried to buy him, we couldn’t. I’ve known for a long time he was a great player.”

Bale then ended up signing for Tottenham for just £5m, but left a few years later as the world’s most expensive footballer (via Metro).

In the Onda Cera interview, Benitez also cleared up comments made by former Reds star Jamie Carragher, who claimed that the Spaniard signed John Arne Riise instead of Bale (via Daily Mail).

“Carragher has made the mistake of saying I preferred Riise when it wasn’t like that,” he added.

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