Gareth Bale on Zinedine Zidane Relationship: 'I Wouldn't Say We Were Best Mates'

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2019

CARDIFF, WALES - JUNE 02: Head coach Zinedine Zidane (L) and Gareth Bale of Real Madrid look on during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid at the National Stadium of Wales on June 2, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Gareth Bale has admitted he and Zinedine Zidane were not "best mates" when the Frenchman was in charge at Real Madrid

Zidane spent two-and-a-half years as Real manager, winning three consecutive UEFA Champions Leagues and a La Liga title before resigning last May.

Bale, 29, played a key role in Zidane's last triumph as Real boss as he scored a double in Los Blancos' 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final.

His first was a spectacular overhead kick in the 64th minute:

But the Welshman was only able to impact the game after being sent on as a second-half substitute.

Bale has revealed he was desperate to start against Liverpool and has never spoken with Zidane about his wonder goal that turned the Kiev clash in Real's favour, per FourFourTwo:

"He didn't talk to me about it—I still haven't spoken to him since. Our relationship was good. I wouldn't say we were best mates, it was just a normal professional relationship. 

"I was really frustrated not to start. I'd played pretty well since coming back from the last little niggle I'd had in December. I scored five goals in my last four league games of the season and felt like I deserved to be involved from the start.

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"I was desperate to get onto that pitch. When I ran on I was still a bit angry, and that's probably why I did what I did next. I've watched the goal back a couple of times. I didn't feel like I had a point to prove—I wanted to do it for myself and the team. If you play in any final you want to be going home with the trophy, no matter what it takes. If it meant waiting to come on for the last 30 minutes, so be it."

Real have endured a tricky 2018-19 season following the departures of Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The French manager's replacement, Julen Lopetegui, lasted only until October before he was sacked with Real ninth in La Liga.

The Madrid giants have picked up their form recently under Santiago Solari, moving up to third in La Liga following four wins on the bounce in the Spanish top flight.

They are also in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, where they will face Barcelona. The first leg takes place at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Bale has not enjoyed his best campaign this term, netting only five La Liga goals in 17 appearances. Again he has endured fitness problems, but he could be a major asset in the run-in.

Despite Real's poor form in the first half of the season, they could still finish the campaign with silverware. The Champions League will again be their priority, and they face Ajax in their last 16 first leg on February 13.