Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he will “fight with other coaches” to sign Gareth Bale if Real Madrid are willing to sell the Wales forward.
Bale, 28, joined the Spanish giants for a world record fee of £85m from Premier League side Tottenham in 2013.
Europa League holders United meet Madrid, who won the Champions League, in the Uefa Super Cup on Tuesday.
“If he plays, it is the clearest signal that he is staying there,” said the former Real manager.
Mourinho said Bale featuring in Skopje would mean “he is in the plans of the coach and the club, and it is in his own plans and ambitions to stay there”.
“Then I won’t even think about it. If he is not in the club’s plans and it is true that a player like Bale is at the departure gate, I will try to be there waiting for him at the other side.”
Bale committed his future to Madrid at the end of last season, saying he was happy to stay with the 12-time European champions.
Last October, he signed a new deal to stay at the Bernabeu until 2022.
The former Tottenham player has won the Champions League in three of his four seasons at the club, also helping them win the Spanish La Liga title – their first since 2012 – last season.
Bale was only a substitute in the Cardiff final after missing large parts of the season with ankle and calf injuries.
He made just 17 league starts for Zinedine Zidane’s side and has been linked with a move back to the Premier League.
Madrid are also reportedly keen on signing teenage Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe in a £160m deal.
‘Tottenham should sign Bale’
Former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright says Manchester United would win the Premier League title if they did sign Bale.
“If they get Bale, that’s it – that’s the league sewn up,” he told BBC Radio 5 live’s Monday Night Club.
And he suggested Bale’s former club should do everything they can to sign him and stop that happening. “If I’m [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy I’m doing everything I can to get him back to Spurs.
“He’s got three Champions League medals. What’s he going to United for, to win another Champions League? Spurs could be saying: ‘Why don’t you come here and take us to the next level?’.
“You could sell that to Gareth Bale.
“It’s a move that takes them to the next level – but they have to find the money for that if he becomes available.”
And addressing doubts that it was a move that could happen, Wright added: “Could you see Neymar leaving Barcelona for PSG?”
BBC Sport’s Simon Stone
Jose Mourinho has previously said that signing Bale is “mission impossible”. But if he’s available – and if Mbappe for instance comes into Madrid it may create a bit of uncertainty – Mourinho is pointing out to Real Madrid he’s interested.
But just as much, he is also telling Manchester United that if someone like Gareth Bale is on the market, he expects to be in there pitching for him.