Welsh forward Gareth Bale was left off Real Madrid's team sheet for their Champion's League match against Manchester City on Friday. Manager Zinedine Zidane announced on Thursday that this decision came from Bale himself.
"Many things are said," Zidane told reporters. "We have a relationship of respect between the coach and the player. The only thing I can say, and it's a personal thing, is that he preferred not to play. The rest is something between me and him."
When asked about Bale's future at the club, Zidane replied: "Right now, he is a Real Madrid player and I respect that. I respect Gareth and all the players. What is said in the dressing room stays in the dressing room."
As Bale had been snubbed from the squad for quite some time, particularly down the stretch of the club's bid to win La Liga, it was assumed that this decision came from Zidane himself. He has not been seen in a game for Los Blancos since June 24, in a 2-0 victory against Mallorca.
Bale made headlines for his antics on his bench while game after game passed him by with him not seeing any playing time as Madrid got into the home stretch of their title challenge. In one game, he was seen making a binoculars gesture, and in another, he was seen pretending to be asleep with his facemask over his eyes and his feet on the seat in front of him.
Still, Zidane said he had no qualms with the way Bale was acting on the bench. In the postmatch presser after a win against Granada, he told reporters, "I have no complaints about Bale, absolutely none. We are all in this together and thinking about winning the remaining matches to win La Liga."
The Welsh forward was not the only man left off the squad sheet. James Rodriguez was not included, and neither was Mariano, who recently tested positive for coronavirus.