Gareth Bale has thrown the ball back into Zinedine Zidane’s court after his agent claimed the Wales star will not leave Real Madrid.
Real coach Zidane put Bale’s latest absence down to a “technical decision” after the 31-year-old sat out the final LaLiga game against Leganes over the weekend.
The 31-year-old’s future in the Spanish capital had looked uncertain after making just two appearances since the season resumed last month.
His behaviour while on the bench has also been under scrutiny after he was seen on camera with his face mask over his eyes against Deportivo Alaves. While he simulated holding a pair of binoculars in front of his face while he watched Madrid’s meeting with Granada on Monday.
However, his agent Jonathan Barnett has trotted out a similar response to the latest speculation.
Barnett has always insisted that Bale remains committed to Real with his contract set to run until 2022. And he has done the same again, albeit with a more defiant tone.
“Gareth’s fine. He has two years left on his contract. He likes living in Madrid and he’s going nowhere,” Barnett told the BBC. “He is still as good as anyone else in the team.
“Of course, there’s been interest but there’s hardly a club in the world which can afford him. It’s a great loss that he’s not in the Real Madrid team at the moment but he’ll not leave.
“Gareth is not looking to outlast [coach Zinedine] Zidane. Zidane has been very successful. There’s no hatred. Zidane just does not want to play him. Gareth trains every day and he trains well.”
No loan switch
Barnett has ruled out a loan switch to another club for regular game time to remain match fit, but confirmed Bale is targeting a place at the Euros for Wales.
Zidane was asked about the Welshman’s situation last week after freezing him out of the action.
Asked if Bale should leave Madrid, Zidane told a news conference: “What a question.
“You try to put things between us, but you won’t be able to. Every day you ask the same thing. You can do it; you have the right to ask what you want.
“But we’re united. Gareth, James [Rodriguez], everyone.”
Real do have a Champions League second-leg encounter with Man City to look forward to next month and it will be interesting to see if Bale is involved.