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Europe: Zidane About-turn on Bale?

Has the relationship between player and coach thawed?

Real Madrid v Granada - La Liga Santander
A shake of hands between Gareth Bale and his coach, Zinedine Zidane. Is the Frenchman warming to the Welsh attacker?
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane appears to have warmed to the idea of having Gareth Bale in his squad after all. But who would bet money on it, after the pre-season shenanigans that played out in the world’s football press?

Bale 30, was set to join Jiangsu Suning in the summer, the deal collapsing after Real Madrid began insisting on a transfer fee.

Since then Bale has featured in seven club games for Real, scoring twice, and his manager, Zidane claims the player had never talked about leaving Real Madrid.

That much may be true, unlikely though, and it’s not what the world’s media was led to believe pre-season.

”If he can train, he trains and if he can play, he plays. In fact, he’s played a lot of games - he’s never talked about leaving,” said Zidane.

”There’s a lot of talk and a lot of things said. When he’s ready and 100%, we’ll see. He’s focused on playing well for the team.”

In Bale’s time at the Bernabeu, Real have won the Champions League four times, the Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup three times each, as well as La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
However, during a pre-season post-match press conference Zidane stated Bale leaving the club would be ‘best for everyone’, before the proposed move to China was cancelled amidst rumours that Florentino Perez, Real’s president, wanted the Welshman to remain at the club.

Zinedine Zidane Press Conference
Zidane - twisting rhetoric ...
Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press Sports / Europa Press via Getty Images

According to BBC Sport, yesterday (Monday) it was reported that Bale, currently injured, had flown to London to meet with his agent, although Zidane insists he was allowed by the club to travel.

”He went to London on a personal matter and with the permission of the club. He talked to the club because he has a right to personal things,” added Zidane.

”It’s a very simple matter. He asked the club for permission and the club gave it to him.

”He stayed in the summer and it’s better for everyone. He’s here and he’s happy to be here.”

The Machiavellian soap opera that plays out at Real Madrid looks set to continue with this intriguing sub-plot, fuelled by Zidane’s twisting rhetoric, and the Welshman’s seeming desire to remain.

I wonder which party will remain the longest; the one that won three Champions Leagues as a coach, or the one with four as a player?