REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: no Gareth Bale interest amid Zidane's 20 questions

Real Sociedad, Hazard, Ødegaard, Barcelona crisis, Tuchel-Mbappé spat... It's not often that a Real Madrid press conference ends without mention of the Welshman.

Gareth Bale has always been a hot topic of debate at Real Madrid ever since his record-breaking move from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013. But the Welshman was notable by his absence from Wednesday's Copa del Rey press conference questions.

Bale interest missing

Whether it's about his physical health, his state of mind, his chances of being picked for tactical reasons, or his potential departure from the club, Bale often forms part of Zinedine Zidane's required answers. On the eve of Los Blancos' quarter-final against Real Sociedad, however, there was not one mentioned of the 30 year old.

It's not as though there was a shortage of questions either. Everything from his thoughts on the challenge that the team faces at the Bernabéu on Thursday evening to the potential 'crisis' situation going on at rivals Barcelona were posed to the Frenchman, with questions on the derby win, Ødegaard, Hazard, Vinicius, Valverde, Jovic in between. Zidane was even asked about the reported friction between PSG manager Thomas Tuchel and Kylian Mbappé. But not a hint at any interest in his Welsh forward.

What? No Bale | Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane during Wednesday's press conference.

What? No Bale | Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane during Wednesday's press conference.

There were 20 questions in total. Not one about the number 11. Last Friday, before the league game against Atlético Madrid, there had been four specific questions about Bale. Compare it too to the press conference of 29 October when almost two thirds of the questions were focused on the one topic.