After fresh reports of a breakdown in communication with the Welsh winger, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has insisted that his relationship with Gareth Bale is “normal”.
Bale missed training with a knock on Monday and made a minimal impact from the bench on Sunday in Los Blancos’ 3-1 win over Eibar in LaLiga.
Marca’s first-page article reported the partnership of the pair was ‘broken’, in their Tuesday edition.
But Zidane said on Wednesday: “The relationship has always been good. When he doesn’t play, it seems it’s because we don’t have a good relationship.”
“We know the player he is and what he has done [for Real Madrid]. The truth is there is no before and after Kiev (when Bale scored twice in the Champions League final against Liverpool in 2018).”
“I respect very much what Bale has done and I can’t control what you (journalists) write, but the relationship is normal.”
Asked how the player was after missing Monday’s session, Zidane: “He’s like he always is.”
“He’s happy to be able to play. He had a bit of discomfort in his back and maybe that’s why he’s not quite right. We’re all focused on tomorrow’s game.”
Despite the five substitutions allowed James Rodriguez hasn’t made it off the bench against Eibar, now he is another player who is apparently not in Zidane’s plans.
“I’m going to count on him and he’s training well,” the Frenchman said. “Let’s see when he can play. There is a lot of talent between the players here. It’s true he wasn’t playing much…”
Zidane said: “I’m happy with him,” since the return from injury of Eden Hazard, both Bale and James now have more competition.
“He’s happy to be back playing. This break (due to coronavirus) has allowed him to return. The connection with Karim [Benzema]… I won’t say any more. We have to take advantage of it.”
Madrid needs a win to catch up to Barcelona at the top of the table within two points, and it is home to Valencia on Friday night.