Zinedine Zidane reveals Gareth Bale ‘preferred not to play’ against Man City

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

Bale has been on the fringes of Real’s squad for the past year and started just 12 games during his side’s recent title-winning season. Undoubtedly a hit in the first few years following his move from Tottenham, his attacking returns have dwindled in recent years.

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

Bale featured just twice during Real’s post-lockdown run-in/Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Zidane revealed to Marca: “A lot of things are said at the end and we have a relationship of respect between coach and player.

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

On the Wales international’s future at the club, the former World Cup winner added: “I don’t know, he’s a Madrid player now, nothing changes and I respect him. He chose not to play. And that’s all I can tell you. We’re focused on tomorrow. [Friday] the game.”

Bull’s Camps version is a little different. The winger did not want to travel after being constantly out of the team and on the bench by Zidane. Like James, who opted out of a trip to San Mames last month for the same reason…

— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) August 6, 2020

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

While Bale’s golfing and telescoping antics have resulted in hysterical laughter from those not affiliated with Real, fans at the Bernabeu side have not taken such a light view.

However, his agent has repeatedly reiterated Bale’s desire to stay at Madrid, with any potential exit unlikely in the near future. He was due to leave for China last summer, but the move was canceled at the last stage.

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