Zinedine Zidane Denies Rumours Gareth Bale Will Leave Real Madrid in January

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 5, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 5: (L-R) coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid, Gareth Bale of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu on October 5, 2019 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane has said he wants Gareth Bale at Real Madrid until at least the end of this season, ruling out a January exit for the player amid rumours he could leave mid-campaign.

Bale, 30, has endured a rocky relationship with Zidane during the manager's two stints at the Bernabeu. Zidane even said in July that he hoped Bale—then closely linked with a move to China—would leave the club "soon."

The Wales winger remained at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and has enjoyed some encouraging displays this season when fit. Zidane spoke at a press conference ahead of Galatasaray's visit in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, dismissing speculation his player will leave this winter:

"Everybody is saying I don't want Bale here and I want him to leave in January. That's nonsense.

"People can talk about me, about what I do, but nobody can put fake words on my mouth. Of course, we cannot have the same bond with everybody but I've never had any problem with Gareth, even after what happened during last summer when supposedly he was leaving.

"This is the situation: He's here, and I'm happy because the player is very good. So yes, I want Gareth to stay here with us until the end of the season. That's very clear."

AFP's Tom Allnutt provided additional comments from Tuesday's press conference and joked about Zidane's interpretation of a close relationship:

Bale has done well to maintain his status at the Bernabeu considering how close he looked to the exit during the summer, when Jiangsu Suning were said to have offered the player £1 million per week.

As for where the forward could move in future, Sky Sports News recently reported Los Blancos hope to use Bale as a sweetener in their efforts to purchase Raheem Sterling from Manchester City:

The former Tottenham Hotspur talisman has two goals and two assists in six appearances for Real this season, missing the club's last five games in all competitions due to a calf injury.

Zidane has young wing talent ready to take over on Real's wings in the future. Vinicius Jr., 19, made his breakthrough into the first team last season, and 18-year-old Rodrygo Goes is beginning to provide more competition to the likes of Eden Hazard

Marco Asensio is yet to feature this season after he suffered a serious knee injury against Arsenal in pre-season, but the Spain international is also sure to be in contention out wide when he returns.

Zidane did little to hide his feelings towards Bale over the summer, but sportswriter Andrew Gaffney praised the manager for showing a more considerate approach midway through the season:

Injuries may have altered the manager's plans for this season, though Bale has done his bit to impress when he's been called upon.

The landscape could shift again between now and the January transfer window, but Zidane appears intent on at least seeing out the remainder of 2019-20 with former outcast Bale among his ranks.

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