With reports of Gareth Bale’s impending departure from Real Madrid continuing to gather steam, the Welshman spent ninety minutes of the last league match of the season for the Los Blancos on Sunday, a 0-2 defeat to Real Betis, on the bench. Speaking after the match, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said he would not have brought Bale on even if his team had been allowed an added substitution.
“It is true, I did not [give Bale a chance to say goodbye],” Zidane was quoted as saying by ESPN. “If I had another substitute to make, I would not have done anything different,” he said.
While youngsters Vinicius Junior and Brahim Diaz were picked over Bale in the starting XI on Sunday, Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio were brought on in the second half. Bale and Toni Kroos continued to warm the bench throughout. As the final whistle blew, Bale headed straightaway towards the tunnel, not waiting for the rest of the Real Madrid team.
Zidane said, “I have to look at the day-to-day, and make decisions. And when there is something I do not like, or does not fit for me, I must do what I think best. It might be difficult for the player.”
“We cannot forget all he has done here, but I must live in the present, think of the future. We will see [if Bale continues]. I don’t know what will happen, truthfully,” he added.
Sunday’s defeat brought to an end an unflattering domestic campaign for Real Madrid. The Spanish giants have finished the season on 68 points, 19 points behind champions Barcelona.
“We must accept when things go badly. I am responsible for this. We had 11 games, we won five, lost four, and in the end that is what it is. At a club like Madrid, motivation is difficult when there is nothing to play for. This is not the first bad year in the history of this club,” Zidane said.