Zinedine Zidane stepped up his attempt to force Gareth Bale out of Real Madrid this summer by leaving him in the stands for the club’s first pre-season friendly and declaring – the sooner he goes the better.
Zidane gave 22 players a run-out with 11 playing the first half and 11 in the second period against Bayern Munich but Bale was sent to the stands in a power play designed to force the player’s camp to find a new home for the Welshman as soon as possible.
Asked why he had been left out he said:
‘He has not been called up because I think the club is trying to work out his departure.’
Asked if that meant Bale, who has been linked with moves to China and Manchester United, will depart from Real Madrid imminently or if it was just his intention to leave him out all summer he said:
‘I’m not going to get into that.
‘Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving. If it’s tomorrow [that he goes] then all the better. Better for him too. We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team.’
Asked if it was personal between the player and the coach he added:
‘It’s not personal. A moment comes when you do these things.
‘I have nothing against Gareth. We have to change.’
The Real Madrid boss also confirmed he had asked the club to sell the former Tottenham forward.
Zidane said: ‘That’s the way things are. I am the coach and I have spoken to the club. The decision is the coach’s.’
Zidane’s comments stunned Spanish media in Houston for the defeat by Bayern Munich. They reported last week that the French coach had been told by club president Florentino Perez that he would have to accommodate the Welshman because of the increasingly likelihood he will not be sold this summer.,
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett, was quick to response to Zidane’s comments, branding the Madrid a manager a ‘disgrace’ for his comments.
‘He shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid,’ Barnett said.
‘If and when Gareth does go it will be because it is in his best interest and not because of Zidane pushing’, he added.