In Depth

Zinedine Zidane at war with Gareth Bale: Real Madrid respect row rumbles on

Bernabeu boss says the Welsh forward refused to play in pre-season match

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane denies that he has disrespected Gareth Bale and claimed that the Welsh forward refused to appear as a substitute in the pre-season defeat against Bayern Munich. 

Bale’s time at the Bernabeu is almost certainly over following Zidane’s earlier comments at the weekend when the Frenchman said it would be “best for everyone” if the 30-year-old left the Spanish giants. 

After Real were beaten 3-1 by Bayern in the US on Sunday Zidane said of Bale: “We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team. 

“I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done.”

This week it was reported that Bale has been offered a £1m-a-week deal to join a club in the Chinese Super League. Sky in Italy says that Jiangsu Suning and Beijing Guoan are both vying for the forward’s signature. 

Manchester United and former club Tottenham have also been linked, but according to ex-England midfielder Paul Ince he believes that Bale would be a “perfect fit” for Liverpool, the BBC reports. 

Trophies galore

Since joining from Tottenham in 2013 Bale has helped Real win four Champions League trophies, one La Liga title, one Copa del Rey, three Club World Cups, three Uefa Super Cups and a Spanish Super Cup.

With 102 goals in 231 games for Los Blancos, the BBC’s Emlyn Begley asks the question: does he deserve more respect?

Begley writes: “From the outside it seems bizarre - how can a player who would ordinarily be considered a club legend with all his goals and trophies be so unwanted?”

Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett obviously agrees that Zidane has disrespected his client and launched a scathing attack on the Madrid manager.

Barnett told AFP: “Zidane is a disgrace. He shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid.”

Man Utd transfer news Gareth Bale Real Madrid

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Zizou: Bale refused to play

On Tuesday Zidane made another statement regarding the situation with Bale. Zidane denied he has disrespected the player and says the Welshman did not want to feature against Bayern. 

“The first thing is that I’ve never disrespected anybody - certainly not any player,” Zidane told reporters ahead of Real’s pre-season match against Arsenal. 

“I’ve always said the same. Players are the most important thing here. If there is a player here, I will be with them. 

“Secondly, I said the club were trying to find a way out for Gareth. Thirdly, which is the most important, is that the other day he didn’t get changed for the game because he didn’t want to. 

“The club are trying to find a way out for him. For now, Gareth is a Real Madrid player, he’s going to train normally with us and we will see what happens.”

Sky Sports adds that Bale’s agent Barnett has also confirmed he was “working” on a deal to get the player out of the Bernabeu.

Bale out, Pogba in?

Spanish newspaper AS reports that another reason Zidane will want Bale out is to free up funds to make a bid for Paul Pogba.

Manchester United midfielder Pogba remains one of Zidane’s top transfer targets this summer, but any move for the French star will depend on Bale’s departure.  

Sources have told Marca that negotiations for Bale’s exit have come to a standstill and his reported £650,000-a-week wages are a huge issue for most suitors.

Marca’s Miguel Ángel Lara writes: “While Real Madrid are prepared to cut their losses when it comes to Bale’s transfer fee, it’s the player’s high wages that are causing problems.

“The forward’s representatives see a move to China as the only option that wouldn’t see Bale have to take a pay-cut.”

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