By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Diego Maradona says he has a solution to Real Madrid’s scarcity of goals this season – sign France teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe from Paris St Germain and give Gareth Bale away for free.
Real’s record signing Bale has endured another nightmare season with injuries but fired the European champions into the Club World Cup final on Wednesday by striking the winner in a nervy 2-1 win over Abu Dhabi side Al Jazira.
Real will face Gremio in Sunday’s decider to add some more silverware to manager Zinedine Zidane’s trophy cabinet.
Their domestic form, however, has been poor and they find themselves eight points behind Barcelona in the Liga standings.
Yet Argentina’s former World Cup winning captain said things might have been different had president Florentino Perez heeded his advice.
“I told Florentino to sign Mbappe but he told me had Cristiano Ronaldo,” Maradona said in an interview with AS.
Asked where signing Mbappe would leave Bale, Maradona said: “They should sell Bale, they should give him away. I expect Florentino wouldn’t, but maybe he can do a deal, and let Bale go to AC Milan or Inter (Milan).
“They have to sign Mbappe, for me he’s the next big thing, he could overtake many players.”
Maradona, who inspired Argentina to win the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, also said Lionel Messi could take a leaf out of his book when it comes to rallying the national team at next year’s tournament in Russia.
“Messi is not capable of giving a team talk to 20 guys and motivating them like I did,” Maradona said of Argentina’s captain and all-time top scorer, who has never won a major international trophy despite reaching four finals.
“He would just say ‘What do you want to ask me?’ and they would ask him all the questions.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)