Real Madrid are a club rarely short on controversial moments, and the ongoing spat between Coach Zinedine Zidane and Gareth Bale looks set to stretch into the 2019-20 La Liga season.
Following his return to the club at the back end of the 2018-19 campaign, there has been constant focus on the relationship between the Frenchman and the former Tottenham Hotspur star.
Things ended badly between them when Zidane departed from the club in June 2018, with communication almost down to zero, and Wales international Bale reported to be delighted at Zidane’s departure.
Their relationship had looked to improve when Zidane returned. Bale played in seven of his first eight games back, with hopes that a professional partnership could be established. However, Zidane opted to leave Bale on the bench for the end of season run-in, with Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett slamming Zidane for his treatment of his client.
Zidane increased the stakes during pre-season by confirming that the club were looking to sell Bale, with a departure imminent. That only deepened the tension between the pair, as Barnett again hammered Zidane in the Spanish sports pages, while Bale featured very little in pre-season.
Bale’s reported mega-money move to China has not materialised, with Real Madrid demanding a high fee, and the 30-year-old seeking a significant salary too. He now looks set to stay at Santiago Bernabeu for the new season, with Zidane unable to drive ahead with moving him out of the club.
No other European superpower has made a significant move for Bale, with rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid already spending the bulk of their budgets on Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix respectively. This summer Bale himself has remained quiet on the issue, stating his preference for staying at the club, however the situation looks deadlocked.