Everything you need to know about the Gareth Bale-Zinedine Zidane row
by Chirag R Bhattad
Madrid: Zinedine Zidane shocked the world when he said that Gareth Bale was on the verge of a transfer out of Madrid and that he would be happy to see the back of the Welshman. His statement was branded a disgrace and he was slammed by Gareth Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett for coming out and publicly shaming the Welsh-wizard.
Zidane again came out today to ensure what he said was rightly interpreted and claimed that Gareth Bale refused to play against FC Bayern Munich. It is a whole right mess, this situation, but the common consensus has been that Zinedine Zidane has always wanted to free up the wages earned by Bale to sign other players.
Zidane wanted to bring Eden Hazard last season and left Madrid after the board refused to sell Gareth Bale in order to bring Hazard. But with Zidane given free reign at the club after two dismal spells by Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, he has moved swiftly to bring Eden Hazard in.
And it now looks like his wish of moving Gareth Bale on will also come true, with his comments from two-days ago confirming Gareth Bale’s exit. Here is what Zizou said after Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat to FC Bayern Munich in the Hero Intercontinental Cup:
“Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving. We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team.
I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done, I have to make decisions, we have to change.”
This statement sent shockwaves across Europe, and pundits and fan alike came out in the defense of Gareth Bale. One man, close to Gareth Bale, who backed him was his agent Jonathan Barnett. Barnett blasted Zidane saying:
“Zidane is a disgrace to speak like that about someone who has done so much for Real. If and when Gareth goes it will be because it is in the best interest of Gareth and nothing to do with Zidane pushing.”
Zidane, understandably, tried to diffuse the situation with another statement today, which did little to quell the fire. When asked if his statement two-days ago was disrespectful to Gareth Bale and his achievements at Real Madrid, Zidane said:
“I haven't shown a lack of respect towards anyone. What I said the other day is that the club was working on Bale's exit. I've always said the same thing: the players are the most important ones in all of this.
Whenever there's a player involved, I'll always back them. Gareth didn't come on [against Bayern Munich] because he didn't want to, and he said it was because the club was working on his exit.”
Since the first statement by Zinedine Zidane, one graphic which has been spreading like wildfire is the comparison of stats between Zinedine Zidane and Gareth Bale. While both have played almost similar number of games, Gareth Bale has outperformed Zizou with his 102 goals and 65 assists towering over Zidane’s 49 goals and 66 assists.
Meanwhile, Gareth Bale has scored the winner in 2 Champions League finals and scored one of the best goal in competitive finals against FC Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. It will be interesting to see where Bale lands, but with China touted as a potential destination, it might not be in Europe.