Zinedine Zidane is doing everything in his power to let Gareth Bale know that he is not in his plans for next season and after questioning the Welshman’s commitment after Real Madrid’s defeat at Rayo last weekend, he left the club’s record signing out of the squad entirely for the visit of Villarreal.
“I don’t know if Bale is focused, you’ll have to ask him,” Zidane said after relegation-threatened Rayo scored a 1-0 victory over the stuttering European champions but it seems increasingly likely that whatever the forward’s state of mind, Real will attempt to offload him in the summer.
Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, met last month with Madrid director general José Ángel Sánchez and informed the club that his client intended to see out the remainder of his contract, which expires in 2022. However, that statement was met with the response that Bale was no longer in Zidane’s plans and that he would be given free rein to leave this summer, and could even choose his destination as a nod towards the service he has provided to Madrid.
Florentino Pérez is eager to get Bale – and his reported salary of 15 million euros a year – off the books to help fund the squad rebuild planned for this summer and Zidane is conscious of the fact that he needs to make space in the forward line for any one of Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard or João Félix. And by leaving Bale out of the squad for what is essentially a dead rubber against Villarreal the Frenchman has sent a clear message that Bale can expect many more afternoons in the stands next season if he refuses to be transferred this summer.