The Sweeper: Bale accepted by Ronaldo at Real Madrid

The Portuguese forward is getting along with the €100m summer signing, while Manchester City's Etihad Stadium is set to be expanded and there is a 12-month safety net at Fulham

Gareth Bale is starting to settle in at Real Madrid following an injury-interrupted start to his career in Spain.

The Sweeper understands that key to the Welshman’s growing comfort in the Madrid dressing room is his burgeoning friendship with star player Cristiano Ronaldo.

According to a source close to Bale, he is "getting on well" with the influential Portugese, who "has accepted him as part of the group".

Privately, the two main concerns of the Bale camp following his world-record €100 millon summer move were his fitness following a severely curtailed pre-season programme at Tottenham and the prospect of being an outcast in a dressing room which is historically suspicious of expensive newcomers.

Bale has been involved in 10 of Madrid's 20 matches, only six of which he started, but his contribution of four goals and five assists is starting to win over the demanding Madridistas.

It did not go unnoticed by observers that set-piece expert Ronaldo allowed Bale to take a free kick in the club’s 4-2 league victory over Sevilla last month, from which the 24-year-old scored.

Bale admitted in an interview with Madrid's official media channel this week that he undertook a specially devised training programme to get him fit while still playing.

"I've just finished my pre-season," Bale explained. "It was just a matter of time until I got to 100 per cent. Now, everyone is seeing what I can do. The best is yet to come. Now, I'll be able to score more goals and help the team achieve success."

- Wayne Veysey


Manchester City are ready to proceed with an extension to both ends of their Etihad Stadium after being taken aback by demand.

City recently presented two options to their supporters, in a bid to increase the present 47,000 capacity.

They are already committed to beginning works on a third tier on the current South Stand, which would include an additional 6,500 seats, at the end of this season.

But City are also prepared to replicate that template at the other end of the stadium, at the same time, if the demand is there.

The club have been delighted by demands from 3,600 fans who have already paid £100 up front to join the waiting list in the last month.

- Paul Clennam


The transfer of power at Fulham has been relatively smooth following Shahid Khan’s summer takeover from Mohamed Fayed.

The Sweeper has learned that the takeover document stipulated that there could not be an executive change in the boardroom for the first 12 months of Khan’s ownership, which began in July.

This provided a safety net for individuals named in the document, believed to be chief executive Alistair Mackintosh, club secretary Darren Preston and finance director Sean O’Loughlin, who have continued to run Fulham on a daily basis while Khan is based in the United States.

- Wayne Veysey