Zinedine Zidane has revealed the reason behind his decision to bench Gareth Bale for their crucial fixture against Bayern Munich.
Real Madrid took on the Bavarians at the Allianz Arena in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night, and came away with a 1-2 victory courtesy of goals from Marcelo and Marco Asensio.
However, Gareth Bale remained an unused substitute on the night, just as he did when the Galacticos faced Juventus in the first leg of the previous round of the competition.
Naturally, Real boss Zinedine Zidane was asked about his decision to not use Bale after their victory in Germany, and the Frenchman explained: “I have to make choices and I’ve got some very good players in the squad. There are some players who are performing well at the moment. There are still more games to come and I’ll be relying on him. It’s not true that I don’t play him (at all).”
The Welshman’s exclusion only adds to the speculation that has been linking him with an exit from the La Liga outfit. In fact, Bale himself, had provided a huge boost for the rumour mill ahead of the Bayern game, by admitting the possibility of his departure.
“You can never rule out anything in football,” the winger told Bild. “Currently, I play football at Real Madrid and I enjoy that. Bayern have a fantastic squad and already in the past they have always been one of the most successful clubs in Europe. It’s an honour for everyone to be linked with this club. But as of now I am a Real Madrid player.”
But while Bale claims that he is still very much a Galactico, a few pundits believe his time at the Spanish capital might already be up, as evident from the substitutions made by Zidane against Bayern.
Speaking on BT Sport after the game, Rio Ferdinand stated: “One thing we were all talking about here in the studio before the game finished, making those substitutions and Gareth Bale doesn’t get on the pitch is a huge statement. The future of Gareth Bale at this football club at the moment when two substitutions are coming on before him as they did today.”
Frank Lampard was quick to add: “I think statement is a good word because sometimes if the club is moving in the one right direction, they keep him on the bench, bringing the young players on, it’s a statement to say in the summer that things are going to change.”