Real Madrid: "Terrible message" if Bale plays against Atlético, says Romero
The journalist Antonio Romero says Zinedine Zidane will be sending his Real Madrid players the wrong message if Gareth Bale plays in Saturday's derby.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will be sending a "terrible message" to his squad if he fields Gareth Bale in this weekend's LaLiga match-up with local rivals Atlético Madrid, says prominent Spanish football journalist Antonio Romero.
Bale, 30, has made just 15 Madrid appearances this season amid injury issues and doubts about his commitment to Los Blancos, most notably courting controversy in November when he posed with a flag reading "Wales, golf, Madrid - in that order" after helping his country to reach Euro 2020 during a month-and-a-half-long absence from club action.
After starting the Copa del Rey win against Unionistas Salamanca last midweek - only his second appearance in 2020 - Bale then sat out Sunday's LaLiga victory at Real Valladolid with an ankle knock, and is not in the squad for Wednesday night's Copa clash with Real Zaragoza.
Bale game time depriving more committed team-mates of playing for Real Madrid, says Romero
"The squad list for [the Atlético game on] Saturday is going to bring with it an important message for the rest of the dressing room," Romero told the programme 'El Larguero' on Spanish radio station Cadena SER on Tuesday night.
"After only a minor sprain against Unionistas Salamanca, he's not back for the trip to Valladolid and he hasn't gone to Zaragoza, either - so I think it would be a joke if he got in the squad against Atlético and maybe got half an hour, scored a goal and came away with the headlines.
"I think it would be a terrible message to send to the dressing room. It wouldn't be the first time, but I think it's worth reiterating that Bale is being given playing time for nothing and taking minutes away from far more committed team-mates."
Real Zaragoza vs Real Madrid live on AS English
Real Madrid take on Zaragoza in the last 16 of the Copa at 21:00 CET, and you can follow live coverage of Los Merengues' cup trip to La Romareda live with AS English, with build-up beginning about an hour before kick-off.