Zinedine Zidane once again refused to speculate over the future of Gareth Bale following Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat at Real Sociedad – though the lack of backing for the Welshman is painfully clear.
The Madrid coach left Bale out of his squad for the penultimate game of the season amid talk of a summer move away from the LaLiga club for the Wales international.
Sociedad won with goals from Mikel Merino, Joseba Zaldua and Ander Barrenetxea after former Man City star Brahim Diaz gave the visitors an early lead.
To make matters worse for the visitors they had Jesus Vallejo sent off in the first half for handball although Thibaut Courtois did save Willian Jose’s resulting spot-kick.
Zidane said of Diaz: “He has played well. He is a good player and very interesting.
“He’s young, we’ll see what happens next year. He has had minutes and he has done well,” the Frenchman added on the club website.
On Bale, whose agent has made it clear he won’t be forced out, Zidane added: “We’ll see if he’s going to be (playing) next week. He’s fine physically. We will see the next game and next year. It’s clear what I’ve done for this week.”
Zidane was encouraged by his side’s positive start to the game.
He said: “I liked the start of the game, we started well and scored. After the goal scored by Real Sociedad, another match began.
“It was a shame because we played a good game and had opportunities, even with 10. For us, it is better that it’s over now.
“The second part has been complicated, but even with 10 it has been back and forth and we had chances to score.
“When you start well and finish like that, it is complicated, especially for the players because of the effort they have made.”
Diaz opened the scoring with six minutes played as he evaded three tackles to slot home for Real Madrid. But Sociedad were level 20 minutes later as Merino took his time before beating Courtois.
In a busy first half Real Sociedad also had an effort by Mikel Oyarzabal chalked off following a lengthy VAR review and the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Vallejo was dismissed for handball in the area.
However, Courtois guessed the right way to keep out a poor spot-kick from Jose to keep the scores level at the break.
Zaldua headed in the second before Barrenetxea wrapped up the victory with 23 minutes left.