Real Madrid boss Zidane confused as Spanish press round on Bale


Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is bemused by the attitude of his team's fans towards Gareth Bale after they booed the Welsh forward during Saturday's 3-0 La Liga victory over Athletic Bilbao.

When quizzed on why a player who has won four Champions Leagues in fiveseasons in Madrid – including scoring decisive goals in two of the finals – isgiven such a hostile reception by fans Zidane said; "I don't know. Honestly, Idon't understand it."

Bale came on as a substitute after being left out from the start for thesecond consecutive game by Zidane and irked the Bernabeu faithful by missing aone-on-one chance.

The reaction was in stark contrast to the one that greeted Isco, whocame on to the pitch at the same time as Bale to much delight from the stands.

For his part, Bale shrugged off missing the presentable opportunity byunselfishly teeing up Karim Benzema for his hat-trick but that did not savedhim from a mauling by local media on Monday.

"The intention is to sell him, but there's no offers forthcoming," readthe front page of Marca, accompanied by a picture of the 29-year-old Balelooking sullen.

"They're now open to the idea of loaning him out," the paper continued.The same newspaper reported recently that Chelsea's Belgian forward Eden Hazardwill be signed to take Bale's place in the squad.

A scathing opinion piece in the paper went further.

"Madrid, or rather their president, have been procrastinating with Bale.He finished last season as a substitute for not playing well enough and it willhappen again this season," it said, omitting to mention Bale's two goals,including a stunning overhead kick, in last year's Champions League final withthe game finely poised.

"He keeps on saying 'good morning' rather than 'buenos dias' when hearrives at the training ground; that's if he even says anything," Marca said.

"The thing is that Bale's lack of sporting value is also now on a parwith his lack of economic value. He's a very expensive player and given the wayfootball is, there's many players who are a level below salary wise whocontribute a lot more."

In 2016 Bale was given a new deal through to 2022 that made him thethird-best paid player in world football, but injuries – he has missed 86 gamessince joining the club – and a perceived failure to assimilate with Spanishculture have drawn criticism.

 "The club aren't too optimistic about being able to sell him so are willing to listen to a loan offer," Marca said.

"They want to rid themselves of Bale's salary, or at least a part of itand add an option to buy like they did with James Rodriguez to Bayern."

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