Gareth Bale to join Tottenham Spurs squad for Asia Trophy match in Hong Kong
Star forward Gareth Bale, the hottest property in English football, has been confirmed in Tottenham Hotspur's squad for the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong next week.
The subject of heated transfer talk and cheeky overtures from Real Madrid, who have a No11 jersey waiting for him, Bale will spearhead Andre Villas-Boas' side in the four-team tournament, also featuring Manchester City, Sunderland and Hong Kong champions South China.
Bale, 23, completed a notable treble in 2012-13, being named Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year by England's Professional Footballers' Association and Footballer of the Year by England's Football Writers' Association. He is also shortlisted for player of the year in Europe.
Spurs will kick off the competition against Sunderland at Hong Kong Stadium a week on Wednesday. They will be hoping to repeat their victory over Paolo Di Canio's team in the final match of the 2012-13 Premier League season, when Bale's 90th-minute wonder strike sealed a thriller at White Hart Lane. Bale, who scored 24 goals in all competitions last season, is part of a 25-man squad that includes the team who beat Sunderland as well as the return of Sandro, the Brazilian midfielder who missed most of last season through injury.
Spurs' only signing this summer, Paulinho, will not travel to Hong Kong. The midfielder has been given extra time to rest having helped Brazil win the Fifa Confederations Cup at the end of last month.
But there will be a host of internationals on display as Villas-Boas looks to build on last season's record points total of 72. All but five players in the squad have appeared for their country at international level.
"It is extremely important for our preparation," Villas-Boas said of the tournament.
"It gives us the opportunity to go abroad and continue our preparation in good facilities and in a comparative environment like the one we are going to face there."
After playing Sunderland, Spurs will take on Manchester City or South China a week on Saturday.