July 23 – Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has denied showing disrespect to Gareth Bale, who commanded a world record fee when he joined Real Madrid in 2013 but who has been out of favour despite winning four Champions Leagues with the club.
Zidane has said Bale is “very close” to leaving and that his exit would be “best for everyone” prompting Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett to brand the remarks a “disgrace.”
Zidane has now hit back at such suggestions and claims Bale himself declined to play in Real’s 3-1 International Champions Cup defeat to Bayern Munich on Sunday because the club was trying to arrange his transfer.
“I’ll try to be very clear with this,” Zidane told a news conference on Monday. “I haven’t shown a lack of respect towards anyone. What I said the other day is that the club was working on Bale’s exit.”
Bale has been strongly linked with Chinese Super League clubs Jiangsu Suning and Beijing Guoan, who are reportedly considering offering wages of £1million per week. Most signs point towards a move to China because few clubs in Europe can afford his current wages which are apparently close to £600,000 a week before tax, though Chinese clubs are now under restrictions themselves when it comes to signing big money European players.
Real finished third in La Liga last season, got knocked out of the Champions League by Ajax over two legs, and also lost to rivals Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey. Although Bale has three years left on his contract, Zidane needs to make changes to satisfy Real’s demanding fans.
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