Gareth Bale is “very close to leaving” Real Madrid, according to boss Zinedine Zidane (BBC Sport).
Bale was left out of Real Madrid’s first pre-season friendly, a 3-1 defeat by Bayern Munich in Houston, yesterday, after which Zidane said, “We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to another team.”
Bale with three years left on his contract and four Champions’ League winners’ medals since joining Real from Tottenham for £85m in 2013, was booed at times last season but his agent Jonathan Barnett went on record in March stating Bale was very happy at the Bernabeu, and wished to complete his career there.
But upon Zidane’s reappointment as Real coach, Barnett told BBC Sport that it was “bad news”, because Zidane did not want to work with Bale and the two men disagreed on playing style.
Today, Barnett told BBC Wales: “We’re working on a few things. Gareth is a Real Madrid player but if he does leave it will be his own decision, not Mr Zidane’s.”
All sounds very unsavoury and a far cry from training in Montreal last Tuesday when Bale appeared to hold court at the beginning of the session, amusing the group, including Zidane, with some anecdote or other.
Injury has limited the Welshman’s La Liga appearances to just 79 over the past four seasons and reportedly he’s been nicknamed ‘The Golfer’ by team-mates.
The news will alert Manchester United and his old club, Tottenham, although the player’s injury record may scare big clubs away, in which case a move to the Chinese Super League cannot be ruled out.
In response to Zidane’s comments, Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett told AFP: “Zidane is a disgrace - he shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid.”