Gareth Bale: Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane not interested in flag furore

Gareth Bale has made seven appearances for Real Madrid this season

Zinedine Zidane is happy to have Gareth Bale fit and says there is no need to discuss his Wales flag celebration.

Bale has been criticised in Spain following Wales’ Euro 2020 win over Hungary, when he was pictured with a flag saying “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order”.

But Real Madrid manager Zidane has brushed the issue aside.

“Things can happen outside but we have to look inside the club. What happens outside doesn’t bother us,” he said.

“I have spoken to Gareth like I do all players, every day we say hello and we talk if we pass in the club and that’s it.

“I am not interested in talking about what happened outside. He is OK and has trained normally with us and that is that.

“He is a player who has given lots to the club and I will look only at the sport, not what they say outside because there is a lot said and I am not here for that.

“I am not interested. It interests a lot of people but not me.”

Wales have reached their second successive European Championship thanks to their 2-0 win over Hungary in Cardiff

Zidane said in July it would be “best for everyone” if Bale left Real Madrid and the 30-year-old came close to joining Chinese club Jiangsu Suning.

But after Real called off the transfer at the last minute, Bale regained his place in Zidane’s team.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Real’s La Liga meeting with Real Sociedad on Saturday, Zidane said Bale’s future is in the player’s hands.

“If one day he has to leave that is his decision, but what I can say about Gareth is today he is here with us, available and I am happy for the team,” Zidane said.

“I consider that there have been lots of things, lots of noise about Gareth. As trainer, I concentrate on the football.

“He is an important player and has always showed us this.”

Bale has helped Real to four Champions League triumphs since joining from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013, but his relationship with the club’s fans has at times been strained.

Former Real striker and director of football Predrag Mijatovic said last month that Bale prioritised Wales and playing golf over his club.

That triggered a Wales fan to create the flag which Bale and his team-mates were pictured alongside as they celebrated sealing their place at Euro 2020.

Bale played in the crucial wins over Azerbaijan and Hungary despite not featuring for his club since the October international break because of injury, prompting further questions over his commitment to Real’s cause.

Bale said the timing of his return to action was a coincidence – but admitted prior to the Azerbaijan game he felt “more excitement” playing for Wales than he does when on club duty.

Bale has two-and-a-half years to run on his contract in the Spanish capital.

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