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Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez Left out of Real Madrid Squad for Salzburg Friendly

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2019

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 27:  Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez of Real Madrid battle for the ball during a Real Madrid training session on the eve of the UEFA Champions League Final against Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 27, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez have both been left out of Real Madrid's squad for their upcoming friendly against Red Bull Salzburg amid continued speculation regarding their futures. 

The team for the match on Wednesday in Austria was confirmed by the Los Blancos Twitter account:

Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 @realmadriden

📝 Our 20-man squad for tonight's friendly match against @FCRBS_en! #HalaMadrid https://t.co/IkEWR1OSJb

Manager Zinedine Zidane has opted not to include either Bale or James while they continue to be linked with moves away from the club.

Bale appeared set to be on the move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning before it was reported that Madrid stopped the transfer going ahead. 

According to John Percy of the Daily Telegraph, the plug was pulled on the transfer as Los Blancos wanted a fee for the forward, who had previously agreed terms on a contract that would have seen him earn a weekly wage of £1 million.

Per football journalist David Ornstein, there appears to be a stalemate between Bale, Zidane and the club:

David Ornstein @bbcsport_david

Gareth Bale has been left out of the Real Madrid squad for tomorrow’s friendly v Red Bull Salzburg. Currently no sign of him being reintegrated into the 1st team picture nor the relationship with Zinedine Zidane being rebuilt or moving clubs before Spain’s transfer deadline #RMFC

As Eleven Sports relayed, according to Marca, Zidane is keen to move both players on so Madrid can finance a transfer for Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek:

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| 📰 | Key week for Real Madrid write AS with the possible arrival of Donny van de Beek & Zidane wanting James Rodriguez & Gareth Bale sold. https://t.co/9kyDnlAOVl

James is also out of favour under Zidane. In his first spell in charge of Madrid, the manager sanctioned the two-year loan of the Colombian to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2017, although the German giants opted against making the transfer permanent.

The playmaker has returned to the Spanish capital this summer as a result and has been linked with a departure throughout the window. Napoli, Atletico Madrid and Fenerbahce are clubs said to be interested.

Given both stars will be on lucrative contracts at the Santiago Bernabeu, shifting them out before the end of the transfer window will be a challenge for Madrid. 

Bale's future has been a huge discussion point in recent weeks, as have his activities away from the game. Zidane was recently asked about the Welshman playing golf while Madrid were taking on his former club Tottenham Hotspur in a friendly:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane on Bale playing golf yesterday evening “I don’t know. I am here with my players. I cannot comment on that. I hope he has trained there [in Madrid]. We are here thinking of the team.”

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane on Bale golfing question 2: “We will see when we get back. I’m not going to stop anybody doing anything, we all have our responsibilities. I don’t get into his personal life. He stayed there to train, he did that.”

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Zidane on Bale golfing question 3 - if it was lack of respect to be on the course when team playing elsewhere: “Another question? You can’t put me in a position I don’t want to be. I won’t answer more than this.”

As for James, he fell out of favour at Madrid towards the end of the 2016-17 season, and it appears unlikely he'll be able to force his way back into contention this term. 

James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph reported that Los Blancos offered him as a makeweight to Manchester United in a possible deal for Paul Pogba:

James Ducker @TelegraphDucker

So Real Madrid's offer of £27.6m cash plus James Rodriguez for Paul Pogba was flatly rejected by #MUFC last week. Confirms suspicions Real never had the money to do deal after summer when they've committed >£270m in fees. Maguire announcement to come today https://t.co/PtgwwDvk6K

Both players would benefit from a move away from the Spanish capital before the end of the transfer window, and Zidane appears to be sending a message to each that they're not part of his plans.

Although both have seen their stock fall at Madrid, they have undeniable quality and will feel confident of contributing at the highest level still. A season in the wilderness at the Bernabeu with that in mind would be a shame for both.