MADRID – Gareth Bale will be excluded from Real Madrid’s squad on Sunday for the second match running as Zinedine Zidane continues to suggest the Welshman is not part of his plans for next season.
Bale will not even be on the bench for Madrid’s penultimate La Liga game away at Real Sociedad, just as he was not picked for the 3-2 win over Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu last weekend.
Since Zidane was reappointed, Bale has only played 90 minutes in three of his nine games in charge. He has been substituted three times and now left out completely three times too.
Asked whether he had spoken to Bale about his future, Zidane said on Saturday: "I’m not going to say anything about this, private conversations are private, they stay in the dressing room.
"It’s what I have to do with the players, all the players, those who stay and those who have to go. But it stays inside the dressing room."
Bale and Zidane fell out last season before the Frenchman resigned after Real Madrid won the Champions League, offering Bale a fresh start under new coach Julen Lopetegui.
But after Lopetegui and then Santiago Solari were sacked, Zidane’s return has put Bale’s future at the club in serious doubt.
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett told Sky Sports News in England on Wednesday that the 29-year-old wants to stay.
"I am not sure that Mr Zidane wants him to stay but at the moment Gareth wants to stay," Barnett said. "He has got a contract, he will quite happily see it out until 2022."
Asked about Barnett’s comments, Zidane said: "Nothing, I do not want to answer. I’m the Real Madrid coach and he does his job, that’s it."
Zidane has been quizzed about various players leaving Madrid this summer after a miserable season that has left them 15 points behind Barcelona in the league, after also crashing out of the Champions League to Ajax in the last 16.
While Zidane has offered support to the likes of Karim Benzema, Marcelo and Raphael Varane, he has refused to offer assurances over Bale.
Asked if Bale was focused on Real Madrid last month, Zidane said: "I don’t know, you will have to ask him." On Bale’s future, Zidane said: "We have not talked about that and we’re not going to talk about that."
Bale has been with the Spanish giants since joining from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 for a then-world record transfer fee of 100.8 million euros.