Gareth Bale’s celebrations irked Madrid fans and Spanish media. Marca had the headline ‘Disrespectful. Wrong. Ungrateful. In That Order’.
But Madrid head coach Zidane is in no mood to escalate the situation any further. Zidane vehemently defended Bale, who was almost verge of leaving Real Madrid in the close-season and urged the club’s supporters to get behind the former Tottenham man.
Zidane was asked several questions about Bale in the press conference before match-day and insisted he would be part of his first-team plans going forward. “There is a lot of noise around Gareth, but ultimately the most important thing for me as a Coach and him as a footballer is to focus on the game,” Zidane said.
“Everyone has an opinion, everyone has thoughts, and the opinions are too much already. He went to join Wales, he played, and now we get him back again, and we’re delighted to have him back.” He also added, “He has given a lot to the club, and I am only going to look at issues relating to football. There are a lot of comments that have been made about other things, but I’m not interested in that, even if others are.
As he did not want to go to the specificity of the point of contention to avoid any further controversy, “I’m not going to answer any more questions about him. You do what you want, but I’m just going to say the same thing, so there is no point.”
He tried to diffuse the issue and request for support from fans, “Those who really support the club, those who come to the stadium, know he’s a Real Madrid player.” “You shouldn’t look at what goes on elsewhere; you have to support the team, the players, you have to get behind the side. I will always support my players. Things might go on outside the Real Madrid environment, but we’re in this together.”
Zidane Press Conference
Zidane was quizzed repeatedly about Bale ahead of Saturday’s home game with Real Sociedad and was quick to highlight the player’s achievements in Spain.
He added: “I think sometimes people go over the top with this topic, everyone has their point of view, we’re here to focus on football. “I think it’s almost the snowball effect. He was fit and could play with the national team, [now] he’s here, available, and we’re delighted.
“He’s done a lot for this club. I’m only concerned with the sporting side. I’m not here to speak about the rest; I’m not interested. I know a lot of people are but not me.”
Bale has not played for Madrid giant since the 4-2 win over Granada on and picked up an injury during last month’s international break blamed for his absence. Madrid have a tough fixture, including Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League clash with PSG, and Zidane is looking forward to putting a united face, with Bale playing a vital role in it.
“I know what Gareth can bring to the side. We have lots of games, and all the players have an important part to play,” he said. “He wants to play, and I’m sure he doesn’t like being talked about in this manner. He wants to play, he wants to be here with us, and now we have lots of games coming up with some crucial games, and he’s going to be fully committed to the cause.”
Zidane believes difficulties with learning Spanish could be a contributing factor but feels Bale is content at Madrid.
“I think the language might play a part. After he scored the goal in the Champions League final, he looked very happy, and he was a Real Madrid player,” Zidane said.