REAL MADRID

No Bale-Zidane meeting: the Welshman returns to Madrid with a knock

Real Madrid: After having two days off, Bale returned to training at Valdebebas, working in the gym. Martin Odegaard trained with the group.

Gareth Bale returned to Real Madrid’s pre-season training, however there was no one to one meeting with Zinedine Zidane. The Welshman trained at the Valdebebas facilities but not with the rest of his teammates. Madrid have yet to issue a medical report on whether his absence is due to a physical problem or slight discomfort, which comes as a surprise after having played 45 minutes against Finland and 90 minutes against Bulgaria in the UEFA Nations League with Wales.

Knee trouble after Wales games

AS has learned that Bale has returned to the Spanish capital with knee trouble, despite leaving the Wales camp with no news of pain or discomfort. The 31-year-old enjoyed two days off (Monday and Tuesday), before returning to training on Wednesday. On his return, he worked in the gym alongside Asensio, Isco, Mariano and Reguilón, all currently carrying knocks.

Zidane and Bale were expected to meet after the Welshman's recent statements while on duty with his country, in relation to whether he will leave Madrid this summer: "I think the club needs to answer that question because I tried to leave last year and they blocked everything at the last second. There have been other cases where we tried to go but the club did not allow it. They have control of everything, it is in the hands of the club but they make things very difficult to be honest. I can't really do anything.” Bale has fallen out of favour with Zidane and represents almost 30 million euros of the club’s wage bill per season on his current contract, which runs until June 2022.

Post-Covid-19 form

The return of football in June, after the break caused by the coronavirus crisis, did not improve Bale's situation at all: he only played two games of the last eleven in the league, being a starter in just one of them. With his place clearly out of the team, he decided not to travel to Manchester for the second leg Champions League tie at his own request, according to Zidane in the build up to the match. A tactic also used by James Rodríguez to avoid risk of injury while seeking a departure, which finally came, completing a move to Everton on Monday. Bale, however, is in a more complicated scenario; he has received no offers, his huge salary is clearly an obstacle during a time of financial disruption for clubs globally, and is fully aware of his position under Zizou. It remains to be seen whether he participates in Thursday's session with the rest of the squad or if he continues to train in the gym at Valdebebas.

Odegaard returns to group training

Martin Odegaard took part in the team's group session, after working in the gym to regain fitness and recover from a knee injury picked up while on loan at Real Sociedad, where he was suffering from Patellar tendinopathy. The player and Madrid opted for conservative treatment to avoid surgery at such a young age. Odegaard worked during his post-season holidays at the Sierra Nevada High Performance Center to strengthen the affected area. On Wednesday, the Norwegian midfielder was able to train with the group as he aims to push for a starting place in Zidane's starting eleven.