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July 22, 2019

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Zizou: Bale near Real exit

Forward Gareth Bale’s tenure with Real Madrid could come to an end in a matter of days after manager Zinedine Zidane said the club was working on offloading the Welsh international.

Bale, 30, has won four UEFA Champions League titles since joining Real from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 for a then world-record 100 million euros (US$112.20 million) but struggled to hold down his place in the starting side last season.

Amid suggestions that competition will only increase next season after the arrival of Belgian Eden Hazard, Bale was left out of Saturday’s 1-3 defeat by Bayern Munich in a preseason clash in Houston.

“He wasn’t included in the squad because the club is working on his departure... that’s why he didn’t play,” Zidane told a news conference. “We’ll have to see if it goes through tomorrow, if it does then all the better. Let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, that it happens soon.”

Zidane’s comments drew a stinging reply from Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett, who labelled the Frenchman “a disgrace.”

“Zidane is a disgrace to speak like that about someone who has done so much for Real,” Barnett was quoted as saying.

“If and when Gareth goes it will be because it is in the best interest of Gareth and nothing to do with Zidane pushing.”

Bale was criticized by the Spanish media last season after failing to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus as Real came third in La Liga last season, 19 points behind champion Barcelona.

Zidane, however, said there was nothing personal in his decision to dump Bale. “There comes a time when things are done because they need to be done. I’ve not got anything against him.”


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