Zinedine Zidane Reveals Gareth Bale ‘Preferred Not to Play’ Against Man City

Gareth Bale, Zinedine Zidane, Manager of Real Madrid
Zidane says he and Bale have a ‘respectful relationship’ | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane has revealed Gareth Bale was left out of Real Madrid’s squad for their trip to Manchester City because the Welshman did not want to be considered for selection.

Bale has been on the fringes of Real’s squad for the past year or so and only started 12 games during his side’s recent title-winning season. While undoubtedly a hit in the first few years after his transfer from Tottenham, his attacking returns have diminished in recent years.

With a space in the quarter finals of the Champions League up for grabs on Friday night, Bale will not be involved, having been left out of the visiting team’s squad.

Lago Junior, Gareth BaleLago Junior, Gareth Bale
Bale featured just twice during Real’s post-lockdown run-in | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Zidane revealed as quoted by Marca: “In the end many things are said and we have a respectful relationship between the coach and the player.

“It is a private conversation, but I can only tell you that he preferred not to play and the rest is between him and me.”

Regarding the Wales international’s future at the club, the former World Cup winner added: “I don’t know, he’s now a Madrid player, nothing changes and I respect that. He preferred not to play and that’s the only thing I can tell you. We are concentrating on tomorrow’s [Friday] game.”

Bale played fewer La Liga minutes than wing rivals Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo this season and only four more than the continually injured Eden Hazard. Isco has also been favoured, while Marco Asensio’s return from injury has given Zidane another option in attacking areas.

While Bale’s golf and binocular antics have resulted in hysteric laughter from those not associated with Real, fans of the Bernabeu side have not taken such a light-hearted view.

However, his agent has frequently reiterated Bale’s desire to stay in Madrid, with any potential exit not looking probable for the near future. He was set to leave for China last summer, but the move was cancelled in its late stages.

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