Snubbed Bale stays in Spain after asking not to travel with Real
Gareth Bale asked not to travel for Real Madrid’s clash against Manchester City in the Champions League after being told by Zinedine Zidane he would be sitting in the stands at the Etihad Stadium.
Bale, who trained with the first team this week, held talks with Zidane ahead of the trip for the second leg of the last-16 tie and was informed he would not be among the substitutes to face Pep Guardiola’s team tonight.
Zidane confirmed the Wales forward’s request not to travel was granted and a 24-man squad flew to England, which included Sergio
Ramos despite his suspension for the clash, which City lead 2-1.
“We have respect between manager and player,” said the Real manager. “It’s clear the only thing from a personal conversation, he preferred not to play. The rest is between me and him. But he didn’t want to play.
“He’s not injured. He’s our player, I respect him like everyone else. He prefers not to play. The rest are all here and prepared for the game and that’s the only thing we are concentrating on.”
Discussing the City tie was a rare conversation between the pair.
They are not on regular speaking terms and barely look at each other at Real’s training ground, with their relationship broken.
Bale broke the world-record transfer fee when he arrived from Tottenham for more than £85million, but he was an unused substitute for six games towards the end of the La Liga season, then left out of Zidane’s match-day squad on the final day of the campaign. Zidane publicly stated it would be “best for everyone” if Bale left when he returned for his second spell as manager, yet the 31-year-old has two seasons left on his deal and is set to see out his contract until 2022.
Madrid have admitted they made a mistake blocking Bale’s £1 milliona-week move to China last summer when personal terms had been agreed for him to leave the Bernabeu. Jiangsu Suning were willing to make him among the best-paid players in the world by taking on a free transfer, only for Bale’s club to demand a fee in the final stages of the deal. One year on and the coronavirus pandemic spending.
“We made a mistake by not allowing the deal to go through, but nobody could see the Covid-19 situation coming at that time,” said a source at the Bernabeu. “We expect him to be at the club for the next two years.”
Bale’s deal at Real is worth £600,000 a week and clubs have prioritised getting maximum value for their transfer budgets following a pandemic that has stopped paying customers coming through the turnstiles. It means the former Tottenham forward will be staying in Madrid, where he enjoys the lifestyle after seven years in Spain. has halted