Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has denied suggestions he has shown a lack of respect towards Gareth Bale. Zidane has also claimed the Wales forward refused to come on as a substitute against Bayern Munich on Sunday in a friendly amid rumours of his impending exit from the club.
Zidane has said Bale is ‘very close to leaving’ the Bernabeu and that his exit would be ‘best for everyone’. Since returning for a second stint as manager, the Frenchman has made it clear that he doesn’t see Bale being part of his long-term plans.
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett has complained that Zidane had shown no respect for the 30-year-old, something the coach denies. “I haven’t shown a lack of respect towards anyone,” Zidane said.
“What I said the other day is that the club was working on Bale’s exit. “I’ve always said the same thing: the players are the most important ones in all of this. Whenever there’s a player involved, I’ll always back them.
“Gareth didn’t come on [against Bayern Munich] because he didn’t want to, and he said it was because the club was working on his exit.” Since arriving in Spain, Bale has won the Champions League four times and La Liga once.
Having joined from Tottenham for a then-world record £85m in 2013, the Welsh ace has been linked with a return to north London, as well as a move to Manchester United, this summer.
“The club is doing what it has to and that’s all there is to it. Bale is currently part of the squad and I respect that. That’s the most important thing for me,” Zidane added.