Washington: Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has denied disrespecting Wales star Gareth Bale as he discussed the expected transfer of the 30-year-old forward from the La Liga giants on Monday.
Speaking to reporters on the eve of Real Madrid’s friendly with Arsenal at FedEx Field - home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins - Zidane said it was Bale who chose not to play in Madrid’s 3-1 friendly defeat to Bayern in Houston on Saturday.
“I did not disrespect anyone, least of all Gareth,” a frustrated-sounding Zidane said. “I said that the club is working to facilitate Bale’s departure, nothing more.
“The other day, Gareth did not dress for the game, he did not want to because the club was negotiating his departure,” he added.
Zidane had been branded a “disgrace” by Bale’s agent for his comments after the Saturday match, when he said he hoped Bale’s move from the club happened soon “for everyone’s sake.”
“He shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid,” agent Jonathan Barnett fumed.
Bale has been frozen out in Madrid by Zidane despite helping his side to a Spanish title and four Champions Leagues since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur six year ago.
His brace, including a brilliant bicycle kick, sank Liverpool in the 2018 final, but he was shunted aside by Zidane as soon as he returned to the Real bench in early March.
After Zidane’s reappointment, Bale played 90 minutes in just three of the remaining 11 matches, was left out completely four times and frequently substituted when he did play.
“There will be no makeshift deals to get him out of the club,” Barnett told Sky Sports television on Tuesday.
“Gareth is one of the best players on the planet. I can guarantee you he will not be going on loan to any club.” Bale has won four Champions League titles since joining Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 for a then world record transfer fee of 100 million euros ($111.79 million) but struggled to hold down a starting spot last season.
The interest of European clubs in a permanent deal for Bale is likely to depend on his willingness to accept a salary cut.
Chinese Super League clubs Jiangsu Suning and Beijing Guoan have been linked to the player in media reports.
“If something comes along that suits us then things could change and he could be gone in a day or a week. Or he could still be a Real player in three years when his contract ends.”