Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has opted to leave Welsh winfowardger in Spain at the newly crowned La Liga champions head to England for their crucial Champions League last-16 second leg against Manchester City on Friday.
Zidane named 24 players for the trip to Manchester, where Madrid are aiming to overturn a 2-1 first-leg defeat to reach the quarter-finals, but while suspended captain Sergio Ramos will travel with the squad despite being suspended for the fixture, out-of-favour Bale will remain at ‘home’ in Madrid.
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Bale, 31, was not on the list, adding another low-point to a turbulent season for the Welshman, who has hardly featured for Real this year.
Despite Madrid storming to the title in Spain, Bale made only two appearances during the 11 games after La Liga resumed, one of them from the start.
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He was pictured standing away from the team’s celebrations with Zidane after their league success was confirmed and had caused a stir by pretending to be asleep during Madrid’s game against Alaves.
Zidane’s decision to omit Bale completely from the squad to face City is another clear indication the Frenchman would prefer to be rid of Bale and his 18-million euro salary this summer.
But interested clubs are likely to be put off by the finances involved while Bale and his representatives insist he is happy to see out his Madrid contract, which expires in 2022.
Ramos will travel with the squad to England, despite being banned for the match after he was sent off towards the end of the first leg.
Uefa’s coronavirus protocols allow Madrid’s captain to enter the stadium and be in the dressing room with the players, but he cannot sit on the bench.
Ramos will also have to be tested along with the rest of the squad.