He knows where he is - Zidane after benching Bale again

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says there is no issue between him and Gareth Bale after he left the Wales forward out of the starting line-up for both of his side's UEFA Champions League last-16 games against Paris Saint-Germain.

Real Madrid Zinedine Zidane Gareth Bale UEFA Champions League Paris Saint-Germain

Real Madrid attacker Gareth Bale Source: AAP

Bale's last two seasons with Spain have been blighted by injuries and while previously the club's record signing was seen as undroppable, his presence in the Madrid starting line-up is no longer guaranteed, especially for the biggest games.

"It's not a problem. He knows where he is. He's an important player and there are other players in the team that are also important," Zidane told a news conference ahead of his side's LaLiga game away to Eibar on Saturday lunchtime (Saturday evening AEDT).

Bale came on as a substitute in both games against PSG. But his negative body language has been heavily scrutinised by the Spanish press, who have pointed out he was yawning while on the bench in the first leg and did not participate in the team's celebrations on the pitch after the 3-1 win.

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Bale struck an eight LaLiga goal of the season by opening the scoring in Madrid's 3-1 win over Getafe last weekend, though his half-hearted celebration was also seen as a sign of his discontent at being dropped from the starting 11.

Zidane played down any talk of a stand-off between him and Bale, saying the €100 million (A$156.83 million) forward understands the intense competition for places on the 12-time European champions.

"He doesn't need to do anything else. He's at a team where there are many players and many games," added the coach.

"He came onto the pitch (in Paris). I have nothing against him. He's fundamental for us and I'm going to count on him until the end of the season. I have to pick a team every three days and that's what I do."

Madrid are third in the LaLiga standings, trailing leaders Barcelona by a remarkable 15 points and seven behind city rivals Atletico.


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Published 10 March 2018 at 8:34am
Source: Reuters