MADRID, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino caused controversy on Saturday when he criticized the money Real Madrid are about to spend on signing Tottenham Hotspurs' Welsh international winger, Gareth Bale.
Bale flew to Spain on Saturday, arriving at a private airport in Marbella to await the conclusion of the long-running transfer saga, which has captured headlines all summer. Meanwhile the Bernabeu has already been prepared for his presentation, which will almost certainly happen early next week.
However, when asked about the reported world record transfer fee which Madrid are reported to have agreed to sign the player, Martino was surprisingly forthright with his opinion and strongly criticized the amount of money that Madrid were paying to bring Bale to Spain.
"I think he is a very good footballer, But the numbers are a lack of respect considering the situation the world is in," said the Barcelona coach.
Martino had not yet been appointed Barca coach when the club signed Brazilian striker Neymar at the start of the summer, but given that Neymar will be the second most expensive player of the close season, perhaps he should have been more discreet with his opinion.
Neymar announced his arrival with Barcelona' s equalizing goal in the Spanish Supercup on Wednesday night and Martino was pleased with his progress since arriving in Spain.
"He is getting better all the time. He is getting working sessions in and getting to know the squad and the club, although we have to do things bit by bit to make sure everything goes well. I don' t know when he will be at his best, but as a coach I have to support him so he finds his best form," he said.
Leo Messi' s slight hamstring injury has meant many believe Neymar will start against Malaga on Sunday, but Martino gave nothing away, saying Messi's absence did not ensure that would be the case, adding that Barca had "a lot of good players."
Meanwhile he was pleased with Messi' s progress after he was forced out of the Supercup at half time in the week.
"He is evolving well we are optimistic, but it is only three days since Wednesday and we don' t want to take risks given that the season has just started. I think he looks good and I am not worried about what people think. Last week was just bad luck," he said.