Zinedine Zidane revealed on Thursday that Bale had been omitted from Madrid’s 24-man travelling party after informing his manager that he would “prefer not to play”.
Though Zidane would not expand on Bale’s reasoning, it is understood that the 31-year-old decided to stay in the Spanish capital after being told he would not feature against City, even from the substitutes’ bench.
Bale has fallen out of favour under Zidane, playing no part in the final seven games of Madrid’s title-winning La Liga campaign and just twice since Spanish football restarted in June.
The Wales international was caught on camera playing golf on Friday, in images captured by Spanish football television programme El Chiringuito.
— El Chiringuito TV (@elchiringuitotv)August 7, 2020
Bale was criticised by the Spanish press in November last year for holding a flag which read ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order’ after helping his national side secure qualification for the European Championships.
The flag was a reference to comments by former Madrid forward Pedja Mijatovic, who said last October that Bale’s priorities in life are “Wales, then golf and after that, Real Madrid”.
Bale has made just 20 appearances under Zidane this season, scoring three goals. The former Tottenham Hotspur winger has two years remaining on his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.
When asked on Thursday whether Bale’s future was in the Spanish capital, Zidane was unsure. “I don’t know,” he said. “He is a current player of Real Madrid. That does not change anything. He is our player. I respect that and respect him.
“He prefers not to play,” Zidane added. ”That’s all I can say. We are all here ready and prepared for the game and that’s all we are concentrating on.”