Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has dismissed claims that winger Gareth Bale was axed from the squad to face Manchester City in the second leg of Round of 16 clash in the UEFA Champions League.
Bale was earlier left out of Real's final La Liga clash as well. He cut an awkward figure after Real's 34th league win and speculations have been rife about his future at Santiago Bernabeu.
Zidane, however, revealed that Bale wasn't axed from the squad to face City as the Welshman decided against making the trip to Manchester.
"I will explain because many things are said," Zidane told reporters in a news conference.
"We have a relationship of respect between player and coach, that is clear. The only thing I can say is that he has decided not to play, and the rest is between him and me."
Fan on social media had a blast after hearing the reason of Bale's absence -
Gareth Bale “preferred not to play” vs Man. city. Says ZZ 😂 pic.twitter.com/rgyaDYtWCr— Rozgar (@rozgarbamarni) August 7, 2020
Zidane trying everything possible to push Bale out of Real Madrid pic.twitter.com/yS333qJYnT— MusaJidda (@musajidda) August 7, 2020
Bale when Zidane asked him if he wanted to play against Man City pic.twitter.com/L1fFz9wPfS— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) August 7, 2020
Zidane when he sees Bale at the Golf course next time... pic.twitter.com/HXTWEEwYrF— Él niño🇮🇳 (@suppandiiii) August 6, 2020
Bale has hardly played for the Spanish giants this year and has been linked with a move back to the Premier League and even China.
Over the years, he has been an important part of the Real side that won four Champions League titles in five years, famously scoring an overhead kick to give his team the lead against Liverpool in the final of the 2017/18 season.
He has scored a total of 16 times playing for Real Madrid in the Champions League and is the first substitute to have scored twice in the final of the tournament.
(With inputs from IANS)