Gareth Bale transfer news: Zinedine Zidane gives biggest hint yet that forward will leave Real Madrid

Bale was left as an unused substitute as Madrid ended the season with a whimper, with the Wales international disappearing down the tunnel immediately after the defeat against Real Betis

Jack de Menezes
Sunday 19 May 2019 15:44 BST
Ryan Giggs says criticism of Gareth Bale comes with the territory at Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane has given the strongest indication yet that Gareth Bale will not be a Real Madrid player next season after leaving the Welshman on the bench for their final game of the season.

Madrid suffered their 12th La Liga defeat of the season as Zidane’s side suffered back-to-back losses to round out a disappointing campaign, with a number of key players left out of the side that saw Real betis record a comfortable 2-0 victory.

Bale was joined in being an unused substitute by midfielder Toni Kroos and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and the £86m 2013 signing walked straight down the tunnel at the end of the match instead of thanking the fans with the rest of the team.

The 29-year-old has been linked with a summer departure from the Bernabeu, and speaking afterwards Zidane was clear that Bale is not currently part of his first-team plans, along with a number of other big-name players.

"I don't know if it's the last game for them or not, I don't know what's going to happen,” Zidane said. “Keylor played well but we'll see what happens next season.

“He (Bale) has won a lot here but we live for the present and the future. We will not forget the past but we have to live for day the day to day.

“I have counted on other players in more in recent weeks, and if I had a fourth substitute today I would not have brought him on.

“I make these decisions when it is right to do so, and I must act in the best interests of the team at all times.”

The problem for Bale is the lack of clubs willing to splash out what it would take to sign the three-time Champions League winner, with no offers arriving as Madrid are keen to recoup the £86m that they paid Tottenham for him six years ago.

One possible solution is to leave the club on loan, similar to James Rodriguez’s two-season move to Bayern Munich, but interested clubs would still need to cough up the sizeable sum needed to pay his €6.5m-a-year salary.

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