Bale close to leaving Real Madrid – Zidane

By Sports Desk July 20, 2019

Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale is close to leaving Real Madrid after he was left out of Saturday's International Champions Cup clash against Bayern Munich.

Bale has been deemed surplus to requirements by head coach Zidane and the Welsh star was absent as Madrid lost 3-1 to Bayern in Houston.

The 30-year-old, who has three seasons remaining on his contract, has been linked to former club Tottenham, Manchester United and Bayern.

And Bale's future is close to being resolved, with Zidane determined to sell the Wales international sooner rather than later.

Asked why Bale was left out of the squad on Saturday, Zidane told reporters: "Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving.

"We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team."

"I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done, I have to make decisions, we have to change," he added.

"The exit is the coach's decision, and also of the player, who knows the situation.

"The situation will change, I do not know if in 24 or 48 hours, but it will, and it's a good thing for everyone."

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    Bale reminded Zinedine Zidane what he is capable of with an assist in an impressive performance as Madrid opened their LaLiga campaign by beating Celta Vigo 3-1.

    The Wales star had been tipped to leave Madrid after head coach Zidane said last month it would be better for him to depart the Santiago Bernabeu, where Bale has won four Champions League titles and a LaLiga crown among other trophies.

    Bale – who was linked with a move to the Chinese Super League – now looks set to remain in the Spanish capital, and Madrid midfielder Casemiro praised him following Saturday's triumph.

    "He [Bale] has given us titles, he's scored in finals and he has a lot of respect from us all," Casemiro said.

    "He has to play. He's a great player and is very important for us."

    Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois added: "He is an important player and played a great match. Everyone loves him and it is important that he plays for us. We are so happy with Bale."

    It was a winning start for Madrid, who survived a Luka Modric red card as they overcame Celta with 10 men away from home.

    Bale teed up Karim Benzema for the 12th-minute opener before Modric was sent off for catching Denis Suarez on the heel following a VAR review approaching the hour mark.

    Despite their numerical disadvantage, Madrid wrapped up all three points thanks to Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez, while Iker Losada netted a stoppage-time consolation.

    "Preseason was not easy for us, there were games in which we did not play well, but we knew we doing things right," Courtois said. "We feel good, today we showed that. We played a good game and we went ahead with 10 players. That is key.
     
    "We knew that in the second half they were going to press us. In the one-on-one with Aspas I did well, made a good save. I have good reflexes and I got a hand to it. That helped give the team real confidence. We did well today but it is a shame not keep a clean sheet. We need to keep it up and work hard. Now we focus on Valladolid."

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    "Sent off for an accidental action," he wrote on Twitter, "In life I would never intentionally make such an action on a player. Totally involuntary!"

    However, Madrid captain Sergio Ramos understood the decision by VAR to show Modric the red card.

    "Everything used to protect football is good," Ramos said when asked his view on the technology.

    "Today the decision was against us. We ended up with one less man, I don't think Modric went in with bad intention but he arrived late and the referee had doubts.

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    September 2 is the last day clubs from Europe can buy players, with Christian Eriksen among the Spurs stars linked with exits.

    Eriksen is into the last year of his contract and is reportedly a target for Real Madrid, while Jan Vertonghen's deal is also expiring.

    Pochettino, though, is unwilling to blame uncertainty over his squad for Spurs being outplayed at Manchester City on Saturday, his side claiming a 2-2 draw at the home of the champions after Gabriel Jesus' late goal was disallowed by VAR.

    "I think it's not an excuse. I am not complaining about the situation, only explaining it," he told reporters. "Of course, we still need to wait to see what happens with our squad. Maybe some players are still in a situation where things can happen.

    "We are not a closed squad where nobody is going to move. Maybe nobody will move. The circumstances are that things are still open. The market in Europe makes things difficult in the way that we work and this type of situation doesn't help the coaching staff to create a good dynamic.

    "Of course, we are going to start our sixth season at Tottenham and I think we're world champions at adapting ourselves to different circumstances. It's a great experience. We are going to be one of the best coaching staffs in the world at adapting to circumstances.

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    "Credit to the team and everyone who is working hard, trying to keep going, working, trying to not be focused on the circumstances, just positive, faith and hope. That is massive.

    "I don't know if people realise or not. I don't care about that. Only that the circumstances are not the best and the challenge is massive. So happy because the will of the players, their commitment and with all the circumstances we're trying to get a good result for the club and for our fans."

    City thought they had claimed all three points in added time when Jesus finished well, but the goal was ruled out after a VAR check found the ball hit Aymeric Laporte on the arm in the build-up.

    "I accept now that the VAR is in football. I was a little bit critical in the past," Pochettino added. "That wasn't nice for the people to hear from me. I love football that was 30 years ago or more.

    "Still I am watching football from the past. I love it and the way the referee was the boss. It's not another person who can make a decision. It's up to him if he sees it or not, not whether it was wrong or right.

    "Now we give it to technology and the new era in football. We're going to accept the rules. I will accept in the future because for sure in the future some decisions will be against us. I'm going to accept it in the same way with the same face. The rules are the rules and the VAR is here."

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