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REAL MADRID

Zidane: "I don't have to convince Bale to stay at Real Madrid"

Gareth Bale is back training with Real Madrid after a calf muscle injury, but Zinedine Zidane says there is no reason to rush him back to keep him happy.

Zidane: "I don't have to convince Bale to stay at Real Madrid"
JESUS ALVAREZ ORIHUELA DIARIO AS

Zinedine Zidane insists he is not obliged to recall Gareth Bale to the Real Madrid team as soon as possible in order to convince him to stay at the club. The Wales star's future has again come into doubt after he travelled to London this week reportedly to meet with his agent, Jonathan Barnett. Speaking after the 5-0 win over Leganes on Wednesday, Zidane stressed he still has a good working relationship with Bale, who has not played for Madrid since 5 October after suffering a knock on international duty.

Today, Zidane said that the forward is now back training with the Madrid squad but does not think he has to immediately rush Bale back into first team action just to show him that he has a future at the Santiago Bernabéu.

"The subject is in the past. He is here and he's back training out on the pitch, bit by bit," Zidane told reporters on Friday ahead of tomorrow night's LaLiga clash with Real Betis. "We're with him in order for him to get back into the team. Nothing more. I don't have to do anything. I don't have to convince him about anything because he's here. He's training, he's still not available, but he's here at Real Madrid. If you want to know about his future you need to talk directly to him".

Gareth Bale

Pogba back on Madrid's radar

While Bale's future remains unclear, Madrid continue to be linked with a possible move for Paul Pogba, who was tipped to move to the Spanish capital in the previous transfer window. With the France midfielder having stayed at United while Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro have all had injuries this season, Federico Valverde has taken his opportunity to impress at the heart of Zidane's side. However, the Madrid boss does not consider Valverde to be a low-cost version of Pogba.

"No. I don't look at him like that. He's a very young player, who has a lot of future and a lopt ot give us now. He's doing well," Zidane said. "I haven't been surprised by him  - I don't think anyone has. He's an important player in the squad. There are 25 first-team players and that's that but he's not a budget version of Pogba at all."

Zidane says Hazard isn't too hesitant in front of goal

The 5-0 win over Leganés was another match in which Eden Hazard was unable to add to his solitary Madrid goal since his move from Chelsea before the start of the season. But Zidane has dismissed the notion that the Belgium star is nervous when it comes to going for goal.

"I don't think he's shy," Zidane said. "He sees things many others don't see, so sometimes he tries the pass rather than shoot. Everyone wants to see Hazard scoring goals. He looks better every day - he just needs to start scoring more regularly but we're happy with what he's doing out on the pitch. Having a bit of time to settle is normal - once he starts scoring on a regular basis, we'll all be happy"