Bale preferred not to play Manchester City, Zidane Reveals

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The manager of Real Madrid Zinedine Zidane has revealed that it was the personal decision of embattled Wales international, Gareth Bale not to play against Manchester City.

The Spanish La Liga giants are in Manchester to play the second leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 against Manchester City which defeated them 2-1 in February at the Bernabeu.

Fans and critics of the Spanish club were shocked when Real Madrid released the team list for the match on Wednesday omitting a fit Gareth Bale who helped the club to win the Champions League in 2018 by scoring two stunning goals against Liverpool in the final.

People were stunned to see that the captain of the club Sergio Ramos was included in the 24-man squad despite the fact that he has been suspended from the match due to his booking in February. And yet, Bale who has always been described as a big-game player was left out of the squad.

“I will explain because many things are said,” Zidane told newsmen when the issue of Bale was raised during the pre-match conference in Manchester on Thursday.

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“We have a relationship of respect between player and coach, that is clear. The only thing I can say is that he has decided not to play, and the rest is between him and me.

“Gareth Bale is a Real Madrid player, nothing changes. I respect that. He has decided not to play. All of us here are focused on tomorrow’s (Friday’s) game.”

Bale vs Madrid Analysis

Gareth Bale and Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane
Gareth Bale and Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane

Whether it was Bale’s decision to be omitted from today’s must-win match or not, it is another sign of how much Bale is not wanted at Real Madrid. Before Thursday’s press conference, there were speculations that Real Madrid was regretting the decision to block Bale’s potential move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning in 2019. The proposed deal was reportedly worth £1 million-per-week which would have made Bale the highest-paid footballer in the history of the game.

Less than a year later, a player who joined Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 for a then world transfer record deal worth £86 million, is now surplus to requirement. Throughout the 2019-2020 season, he only managed to start in 14 matches in all competitions. When the Spanish La Liga returned from the coronavirus break and Madrid went on to win the league by winning 10 straight matches, Bale only had 99 minutes of the action combined.

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Besides the treatment he has been getting from Zinedine Zidane, the fans have not been helping the player’s confidence. Bale has complained that the boos he has been getting from the fans prior to the coronavirus break have not been helpful.

“I just don’t get it”, Bale said. “Because if you’re not having a good time on the pitch, you would expect your fans to get behind you and try and make you do better because that will make them happy. But it seems to me they do the opposite.

“They just whistle you, which makes you feel worse, so you lose your confidence. They play worse, which is going to make them even more upset. It’s sort of a Real Madrid thing. Other clubs do it, but Real Madrid is especially known for it.

“So, I might have just missed an easy chance to score a goal. And the whistles come and you think: ‘My confidence is already down because I missed an easy goal and now it’s just going even more down.’ And the next time a chance comes the goal seems tiny. It’s like a putt. The goal just gets smaller.”

In all this drama, Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett had insisted that his client would complete the two years left on his contract with Real Madrid which many believe would be almost impossible if things should continue like this for the 31-year-old Wales football icon.

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On the other hand, Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero had revealed that Bale’s interest is not to join a Chinese club nor stay at Real Madrid, he wishes to return to the Premier League. But the issue with such a wish is that no Premier League club would be willing to pay the Welshman a whopping €70 million-per-year which he has been enjoying in his five-year deal with Real Madrid.

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