Gareth Bale was left out of Real Madrid’s squad for Friday night’s crunch Champions League clash against Manchester City.
Zinedine Zidane confirmed in a press conference on Thursday that Bale told him he didn’t want to play.
"It was a personal conversation I had with him. He preferred not to play," Madrid’s head coach was quoted saying by BBC Sport. "The rest remains between me and him but he said he didn't want to play."
However, it’s understood that Bale didn’t want to travel to Manchester because he thought he had no chance of playing at the Etihad Stadium.
The Welshman’s relationship with Zidane is now seemingly beyond repair.
Bale hasn’t featured for Los Blancos since the 2-0 win over Mallorca on June 24.
He was an unused substitute for six successive La Liga fixtures and was left out of the squad completely on the final day of the season against Leganes.
Real Madrid now concede they made a mistake not allowing Bale, who earns an eye-watering £600,000-a-week before tax at the Bernabeu, to complete a move to China last summer.
But reports suggest there’s a chance that Bale will opt to stay put at Real Madrid until his contract expires in 2022, even if it means not playing.
He knows his chances of re-establishing himself as a first-team regular while Zidane remains in charge are virtually non-existent.
Bale hasn’t helped himself in recent weeks with his antics. During Madrid’s 2-0 win over Alaves last month, the 31-year-old pretended to sleep while in the stands with his face mask over his eyes.
Days after, during Madrid’s trip to Granada, he was photographed using a roll of wrist tape as a telescope.
And now, as his side prepare to face Man City, Bale has been filmed by Spanish TV cameras playing a round of golf in the Spanish capital.
Watch the footage here…
It’s not a great look, is it?
Madrid are paying him a fortune not to play at the moment. Surely he should be in Manchester with his teammates, even if it means supporting them from the stands?
Others will say ‘well, why shouldn’t he enjoy a round of golf?’ after he was left out of Madrid’s 24-man squad.
But Bale was omitted because *he* didn’t want to be included, according to Zidane.
It’s patently clear now - even if it wasn’t already before Friday - that Bale needs to leave Madrid as soon as possible, even if it means taking a significant pay cut elsewhere.
He’s still a top player and the sight of him playing golf rather than preparing for a huge Champions League tie is actually quite sad and disappointing.
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