Zidane wants Bale out as soon as possible

HOUSTON • Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said the Spanish LaLiga giants are poised to offload Wales forward Gareth Bale in the coming days.

The club's joint-record signing at £88 million (S$149.6 million) was not on the teamsheet for their 3-1 friendly defeat by Bayern Munich in the International Champions Cup tournament at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Afterwards, Zidane revealed that Bale was "very close to leaving", adding: "He wasn't included in the squad because the club are working on his departure and that's why he didn't play.

"We'll have to see what happens in the coming days. We'll have to see if it goes through tomorrow, if it does, then all the better.

"Let's hope, for everyone's sake, that it happens soon."

Bale and Zidane have never seen eye to eye and the latter, who is in his second spell at the Santiago Bernabeu after returning in March, feels the former "is not a good fit for the squad".

However, Real have struggled to find suitors for the former Tottenham star, whose reported annual salary of about €30 million (S$45.7 million) puts him out of the reach of most clubs.

While Zidane did not reveal where Bale, who has three years left on his deal, could possibly be heading to next, he insisted the decision to jettison him was "nothing personal".

The Frenchman said: "There comes a time when things are done because they need to be done. I've not got anything against him. We have to make decisions and change things, that's all there is to it.

"I don't know if this will happen in 24 or 48 hours' time. The situation will change and it's for the best for everyone."

But Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, has blasted the World Cup winner for treating his client with contempt.

He told ESPN yesterday: "Zidane is a disgrace to speak like that about someone who has done so much for Real."

Bale joined Real six years ago, arriving to much fanfare. While he has lifted four Champions League trophies and one league title in his time in Spain, he has often struggled to win over the fans with his inconsistency and injury problems.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2019, with the headline 'Zidane wants Bale out as soon as possible'. Print Edition | Subscribe