Gareth Bale's future is in turmoil after it emerged the forward is reluctant to risk his relationship with Tottenham fans by handing in a transfer request.

Bale has his heart set on a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid and told chairman Daniel Levy he wants to leave during crisis talks in Hong Kong at the Barclays Asia Trophy last weekend.

Now Real sporting director Zinedine Zidane has tried to hurry things along insisting a move to Madrid is an opportunity that may only come up once in a player's career.

Bale could accelerate the move with a formal written transfer request but the £85million target knows it could ruin his relationship with fans at White Hart Lane.

The PFA player of the year and FWA footballer of the year wants them to understand the reasons behind his desire to join the world's biggest football club.

Spurs have been stunned by the change in Bale 24 since Real stepped up their pursuit of the most wanted man in football last week.

Only last week they were convinced a new improved contract offer and his 'special relationship' with head coach Andre Villas-Boas could keep him at the club.

Now Zidane sporting director at the Bernabeu has weighed in.

Speaking in Los Angeles where Real are on pre-season duty he said: 'It is not unusual when a player knows that Real Madrid are interested in them that they get excited. There is nothing more prestigious for a player to wear the white of Real Madrid.

'If he has expressed a desire to join Madrid then Tottenham should give him permission to speak with us. The chance to play for Real Madrid might only come around once in a player's lifetime - and it is understandable that Gareth doesn't want to miss out on it.'

He added: 'This is modern football - you have to pay to get the best players in Europe. Last season Gareth was on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi. The best players can have not so great games - but change a game with a moment of brilliance. Those are the sort of players that win you Champions League's and League titles.

'He is already one of the finest player in Europe and he has everything needed to become the best player in the world. It is a bit of a cliche - but it is true you become a better player playing with better players.'

Levy will reluctantly bow to Bale’s desire to leave Tottenham if Real Madrid offer a world record fee — plus a player.

The chairman has maintained throughout the summer that his star asset will not be sold — and he still wants to keep him — but recognises the pursuit is relentless.

Bahamas-based businessman Joe Lewis who is Tottenham’s largest shareholder will have the ultimate say if as expected Real follow their public interest with a formal offer.

Levy who flew back from the Far East to London on Sunday to discuss Bale’s future with club officials will make a series of demands if Real can come up with the cash.

He wants the money up front and there is still a possibility he will demand a Madrid player in addition to a world record fee.

The Spanish giants paid Manchester United £80m straight up when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.

But Real want to structure the Bale deal so that they pay a sizeable chunk up front and stagger the rest of the fee over the course of his contract.