Zinedine Zidane Reveals Why Gareth Bale Was Left on the Bench in Real Madrid’s Final La Liga Game

Zinedine Zidane has revealed that Gareth Bale’s day-to-day attitude resulted in the winger being left on the bench for Real Madrid’s final La Liga game of the season.

Real Madrid finished their 2018/19 campaign in disappointing fashion, slipping to a 2-0 defeat against Real Betis. Bale – whose future in the Spanish capital is looking decidedly bleak – was not called on by Zidane and he left down the tunnel as soon as the final whistle was blown.

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Speaking after the game, Zidane insisted that ?Bale’s attitude in training meant that he didn’t deserve the chance to feature.

“?It is true, I did not [give Bale a chance to say goodbye],” the ?Real Madrid boss said, per ?ESPN.

“But I have to look at the day-to-day, and make decisions. And when there is something I do not like, or does not fit for me, I must do what I think best. It might be difficult for the player.

“We cannot forget all he has done here, but I must live in the present, think of the future. We will see [if Bale continues]. I don’t know what will happen, truthfully.”

There has also been some confusion surrounding a specific quote from Zidane in the same press conference, where it has been reported that he claimed he still wouldn’t have brought Bale on if he had a fourth substitute to play with. 

Spanish football journalist ?Ben Hayward has insisted that the quote has been misinterpreted and that Zidane instead said: “If I had brought on another player, the same thing would have happened.” – referring to the notion that questions would be asked regardless of who was left on the bench.

Bale’s contract at Real Madrid lasts until 2022 and, although it seems unlikely he will ever get a chance to feature while Zidane remains in charge, it is still unclear whether he will be leaving the club this summer.

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Real Madrid 0-2 Real Betis: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Los Blancos Sign-Off With 12th League Loss

?Real Madrid ended their poor season with a disappointing 2-0 loss against Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Los Blancos rarely troubled the Betis back-line and when they did they lacked the quality to find the back of the net.

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Real Betis had been threatening before striker Loren found the net with a close range strike in the 62nd minute following good work from Andres Guardado. Former Los Blancos player Jese scored for Los Verdiblancos in the 76th minute, much to the ire of the Real Madrid fans, to condemn Real to a 12th league defeat of the season


Real Madrid

Key Talking Point

Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal was lucky to remain on the pitch in the second half having brought down Betis wing-back Junior Firpo as the Spanish youngster bore down on the Madrid goal.

Firpo was about 40 yards from the Madrid net, with nothing but open grass in front of him as Carvajal took his legs out from under him to stop the dangerous attack from developing any further.

The Betis players argued that the veteran full-back should have seen a red card rather than the yellow he received, and they would be justified in saying so. 

As a side-note: in the last game before Gareth Bale is expected to leave the club, Zidane didn’t bring him off the bench to say farewell to a stadium that he has played a major role in bringing three Champions League trophies and a Copa del Rey to. Harsh. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Navas (8*); Carvajal (5), Varane (5), Nacho (5), Marcelo (6); Modric (5), Llorente (4), Valverde (5); Diaz (5), Benzema (5), Vinicius (5).

Substitutions: Asensio (5), Isco (5), Vasquez (4).


Star Man

Zidane has made it clear in previous interviews his admiration of Costa Rican Keylor Navas, but this may be the last time he features in the club’s famous white shirt. Madrid spent £31.5m to bring Belgian international ?Thibaut Courtois to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer, and he remains the club’s preferred option. 

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In this match, Navas showed that he can still cut it at the very top, bailing his defence out a number of times. Zidane’s crew would have lost by much more if it wasn’t for the Costa Rican.

He had to be constantly aware as Betis weren’t afraid to shoot from distance, whilst also being aware and quick off his line when Quique Setien’s men found their way into his box. One save that stood out was the fingertip dive that denied Giovani Lo Celso in the 68th minute, a shot that would have seen Madrid go two goals down if it wasn’t saved. 

Wherever the 32-year-old is playing next season, he will certainly improve the team he is playing for. He has been a great servant to ?Real Madrid, and potentially for the last time in the famous shirt, showed his worth once more with a fantastic performance. 


Real Betis

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Lopez (6); Mandi (6), Bartra (7), Feddal (7); Guerrero (6), Kaptoum (7), Carvalho (9*), Guardado (8), Firpo (7); Lo Celso (7), Moron (8).

Substitutions: Jese (7), Tello (6), Sidnei (5).


Looking Ahead

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Zidane and Real have a busy summer ahead as the Frenchman looks to challenge for the title with Spanish giants and to once again reach the latter stages of the Champions League. 

Los Blancos’ last league title was in the 2016/17 season, whilst Zidane has won the Champions League in all of his previous Real Madrid campaigns. No pressure, Zizou.

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Eintracht Frankfurt Director Provides Update on Luka Jovic’s Proposed Move to Real Madrid

?Eintracht Frankfurt’s director of sport Fredi Bobic has dismissed claims that Luka Jovic’s proposed deal to Real Madrid is finalised after the Bundesliga season drew to a close on Sunday.

Bobic also confirmed that talks were ongoing between the German side and the Serbian forward about potentially retaining his services after triggering the option to buy in their loan deal with Benfica.


Speaking to the press after Frankfurt lost 5-1 to Bayern Munich, FOX Soccer reporter ?Archie Rhind-Tutt questioned Bobic on Jovic, who reports claimed had ?already completed his long-awaited move to ?Madrid. However, such claims appear to have jumped the gun, after Bobic stated that talks were taking place about the club keeping hold of their prized asset.

“It’s not agreed right now. There are some talks behind the scenes,” Bobic said of the possibility of the 21-year-old extending his stay with the ?Bundesliga outfit.

With 27 goals across all competitions for Die Adler this season, Europe has been on hot alert in their efforts to sign the striker, with Zinedine Zidane’s men seemingly having won that race after Saturday’s announcement. It appears, however, such news is premature after Bobic insisted no talks had taken place – although the ?La Liga side were keeping an eye on the player.

“No (talks) but we know the interest is here,” he added.

Having joined Frankfurt on a two-year loan deal in June 2017 with an option to buy, Adi Hutter’s side triggered a clause in that contract to sign the player for a fee understood to be in the region of just €7m back in April – extending his stay until June 2023. However, it now appears this story is set for a few further twists before reaching a much anticipated conclusion.

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Real Madrid vs Real Betis Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

The Reals will square off on Sunday when Madrid welcome Betis to the Bernabeu in both teams’ final fixture of the season.

Despite the outcome of Sunday’s result not affecting Madrid’s final league position, Los Blancos stars still have plenty to play for. 

With talk of manager Zinedine Zidane ushering in a new wave of Galacticos, Madrid’s current crop will be keen to show that any new additions will not be at their expense. 

Zinedine Zidane

Betis on the other hand will be hoping to secure a tenth place finish and send their fans home with a memorable victory to carry them through the fallow, football-free months to follow. 

Check out our preview of the game below.


Where to Watch

?When is Kick Off? Sunday 19 May?
?What Time is Kick Off? ?11:00 (BST)
?Where is it Played? ?Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?Eleven Sports
?Referee? ?Alberto Undiano


Team News

Following his sending off in last week’s loss to Sociedad, Jesus Vallejo will not be involved in Sunday’s clash, and may already be sunning himself on an exotic beach somewhere. Perched on the hammock beside him may well be Casemiro, who’s suspended for picking up one yellow card too many in the same fixture.

Sergio Ramos won’t feature, but all eyes will be on whether or not Zidane chooses to start Gareth Bale in what many expect to be the Welshman’s final match as a Real Madrid player. Although no transfer has been agreed, it is growing increasingly less likely that Bale will be at the Bernabeu next season.

Betis will be without last week’s hero Joaquin. The winger mixed two goals that secured his team all three points with a yellow card and a suspension that ended his season a week early.

Gareth Bale


Predicted Lineups

?Real Madrid Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Llorente, Kroos, Modric; Diaz, Benzema, Asensio.?
?Real Betis ?Robles; Francis, Feddal, Bartra, Firpo; Guardado, Kaptoum; Jese, Lo Celso, Tello; Moron.

Head to Head Record

The history between these two sides reads exactly as one might expect, with Madrid winning 60 times to Betis’ 24. The other 21 occasions have ended all square.

In the last clash at Estadio Benito Villamarín, Los Blancos once again took the spoils thanks to goals from Luka Modric and Dani Ceballos. 

Joaquin Sanchez,Jordi Alba

However, this Betis squad knows what it takes to pull off big upsets away from home, having left Camp Nou with all three points after a thrilling 4-3 victory back in November.


Recent Form

Madrid have been in less than scintillating form in the last few weeks, having picked up just seven points of a possible 15 – allowing intercity rivals Atletico to comfortably take second place in the process. 

The Madrid faithful had hoped the return of Zidane following their embarrassing elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Ajax would lead to an immediate upswing in results. However, Los Blancos’ form is still patchy, particularly on the road where they have failed to win in their last five attempts. 

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Betis’ recent set of results doesn’t make for better reading. A couple of months ago, Los Verdiblancos may have been eyeing up a potential charge for Champions League qualification. Their last few results have put pay to these slight hopes though, with Betis picking up one solitary victory in their last six outings.  

This is how both sides have fared in their last five fixtures in all competitions.

Real Madrid? ?Real Betis
?Real Sociedad 3-1 Real Madrid (12/5) ?Real Betis 2-1 SD Huesca (12/5)
?Real Madrid 3-2 Villarreal (5/5) ?Eibar 1-0 Real Betis (5/5)
?Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Real Madrid (28/4) ?Real Betis 1-1 Espanyol (29/4)
?Getafe 0-0 Real Madrid (25/4) ?Levante 4-0 Real Betis (24/4)
?Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao (21/4) ?Real Betis 1-2 Valencia (21/4)

Prediction

Both clubs enter the fixture with a discernible air of wanting to get the season over and done with. 

Madrid’s pitiful title challenge was all but over by February, and their incredible run in the Champions League over the last few years was brought to a shuddering halt by an Ajax side who showcased the kind of energy and gall that Los Blancos have sorely lacked this campaign.

Gareth Bale

With the signing of Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic believed to be ?completed, and Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba heavily linked with moves to Madrid this summer, Sunday’s fixture could be a last hurrah for several Bernabeu stalwarts who will be desperate to go out on a high. 

Betis will be looking to channel the spirit they showed to beat Barcelona earlier in the season, but their recent form makes it difficult to bet against an out of sorts Real Madrid.

Expect a comfortable Madrid victory with Bale to sign off in style, if he features.

Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Real Betis

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Transfer Rumours: Tottenham Ready to Spend Big, Twists in Ndombele & Dani Alves Futures & More

?As the domestic European season draws to a close and a long summer looms large, what better way to occupy the downtime than with an action-packed period of transfer drama?

From the far and wide to the downright unlikely, the rumour mill is already kicking into overdrive with gossip which is sure to capture our imaginations and raise more than a few eyebrows with scepticism.

However realistic, there is nothing better to whet the summer appetite than a juicy roundup of the latest transfer talk. So, here is the latest set of rumours to feast upon.


Tottenham (Finally) Ready to Spend Big on £40m Midfield Target

Nicolo' Zaniolo

It seems almost an age since Mauricio Pochettino managed to twist Daniel Levy’s arm into splashing the cash to land Lucas Moura from PSG for £25m in January 2017.

Without a notable senior singing for Spurs since then, the Brazilian proved his worth with an incredible hat-trick against Ajax to seal ??Tottenham’s passage into this season’s Champions League final, and suggested what the club might be capable of with further investment.

Having suffered a succession of injury problems in midfield this season, the middle of the park seems to be a priority area for Pochettino to strengthen. According to the ?Mirror, Roma starlet Nicolo Zaniolo is a potential solution, and Tottenham are hoping a £40m raid can beat ?Real Madrid, ?Bayern Munich and ?Juventus to his signature.

Judging by the pedigree of their competition, Spurs shouldn’t hold their breath on this one yet.


PSG Threaten to Blow European Rivals Away in Race to Sign Highly-Rated Lyon Star

Tanguy Ndombele,Memphis Depay

Zaniolo is not the only hot young midfielder attracting widespread attention from Europe’s elite sides.

According to ?L’Equipe, PSG have emerged as serious contenders in the race to sign Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, and could use their financial might to steal a march on the likes of ?Manchester United, ?Manchester City and ?Juventus who are also interested.

The race to sign the highly-rated Frenchman? has heated up in recent times amid a string of impressive performances in Ligue 1, but Ndombele could yet be set to remain in the French top flight, despite intense interest from abroad. Ole is certainly not at the wheel of this one.


Real Madrid Name Their Price for Midfield Outcast to Seal Cross-City Move to Atletico

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The remarkable success of English clubs in European competition this season has come at the expense of the previously all-conquering giants of Spain.

?Real Madrid and ?Atletico Madrid won the Champions League and the Europa League respectively last term but, less than 12 months on, the Spanish capital duo are locked in a tug-of-war over Los Blancos’ forgotten man, Marcos Llorente.

According to ?AS, Atletico have already held talks with the player’s representatives, though Real do not want their man to make the move across town. Diego Simeone’s side want Llorente as a potential replacement for Manchester City target Rodri Hernandez, though, and have quoted a fee of €50m to sign the 24-year-old. This one could be a goer.


Inter Offer Former West Ham Loanee to Everton as Part of Ambitious Attacker Swoop

Richarlison

What better bargaining chip for ?Inter to use in their efforts to sign ?Everton’s prized asset than a player in limbo between making his mark in the Premier League and settling into an under-performing Ne?razzurri side, right?

Well, according to Tuttosport via ?Football-Italia, that is exactly the plan that Inter have up their sleeve, as they are preparing to offer former ?West Ham loanee Joao Mario as part of a bid to prise Brazilian star Richarlison from Goodison Park this summer.

Joao Mario showed glimpses of his considerable abilities during a short spell in east London last season, but failed to convince any Premier League side that he was worth a real shot. Still with unfulfilled potential in his locker, compatriot Marco Silva could squeeze the best out of him on Merseyside, though he his unlikely to part with his main man as part of any deal.


Dani Alves in the Spotlight (Again) as Delay Over PSG Contract Renewal Opens Door to Premier League Move

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Speaking of Brazilian talent and seasoned stars who could yet thrive in the Premier League, Dani Alves could be set to finally arrive in English football at the age of 36. After all, full backs don’t need to defend anymore, right?

According to ?UOL Esporte, former ?Barcelona hero Dani Alves has ‘irritated’ current employers PSG by delaying his decision over committing to fresh terms in the French capital, with an offer of a year’s extension, and the right back is apparently weighing up a potential switch to England. 

Manchester City have been linked with Alves in previous summers, but the Brazilian opted to move to the Parc des Princes in 2017 and has gone on to further his formidable reputation for performing at the highest level across the continent. With Alves apparently seeking at least a two-year deal, the Premier League could yet be his final (and most lucrative) destination.


Wolves Look to Beat Newcastle in £16m Race to Sign West Brom Star

Salomon Rondon

From those still looking to make their mark in the Premier League, to a player who has more than made his mark already in the English top flight.

Salomon Rondon has been a shining light in Rafa Benitez’s mission to steer ?Newcastle to safety and on course for bigger things next term, but a great deal of uncertainty still lingers as Benitez’s unresolved future looms as a potentially dark cloud over St. James’ Park.

There are no such concerns at ?Wolves, where Nuno Espirito Santo has inspired an incredible season at Molineux, and the seventh-placed Premier League side could be set to take advantage of the situation on Tyneside.

According to the ?Express & Star, Wolves are preparing to meet Rondon’s £16m release clause at parent club ?West Bromwich Albion to beat Newcastle to the signing of their own player of the season. The Magpies may be no match for the hungry Wolves in this one.?


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