Real Madrid: Bale now better-placed to get exit terms he wants
After Zinedine Zidane's acknowledgement that he wants Gareth Bale out as soon as possible, Madrid's hand has been weakened in sale talks.
The blue-touch paper was lit once and for all on the Gareth Bale saga when Zinedine Zidane left the Welshman out of Real Madrid's squad for Saturday's International Champions Cup defeat to Bayern Munich, then admitted publicly that he wants the player to leave the Bernabéu as soon as possible.
"He wasn't called up because the club is negotiating his transfer elsewhere [...]. If it's all resolved tomorrow, so much the better," Zidane said after seeing his side lose 3-1 in Houston. Madrid have now been left with very little room to back out of talks over Bale's sale if they do not end up going the way they want.
Zidane was visibly uneasy about the Bale issue, because it is one that threatens to dominate the rest of Los Blancos' tour of the United States if it is not sorted out quickly. That's what the Frenchman has made abundantly clear to the club. That the matter needs to be brought to a swift resolution.
Bale, Madrid in summer-long game of chess over terms of exit
It's what Zidane would like - but also what Bale would like.
The player has spent the summer following the strategy of telling the club that he's happy there and that, if it's down to him, he'll see out his contract. Madrid had also made sure not to show any signs of urgency. They weren't going to let him leave on a free just to get him off the wage bill, and their public line was simple: "Bale is a Real Madrid player and there are no offers for him."
However, Zidane took the game of chess in a new direction in his first press conference of the pre-season, warning of the storm to come when he said: "The situation with Bale has not changed since June, not at all."
Bale buoyed by Zidane's post-Bayern remarks
Aware before the team coach set off for NRG Stadium that he wouldn't be involved, Bale cut a markedly different figure as he arrived at the ground - serious, head-down - to the relaxed, smiling individual who later left it, after his boss had had to acknowledge that he left the forward out because he wants him gone right away.
Bale, who did not play against Bayern to avoid any injuries, is determined that the terms of his Madrid exit should allow him to keep hold of his after-tax annual salary of 17m euros at his new club.
With Madrid's hand now weakened, he's closer to achieving that aim.
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