Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale unhappy after Champions League snub against Juventus

Gareth Bale was unhappy after being left on the bench at Juventus in midweek, according to Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane.

Bale’s dream first season in the Spanish capital in 2013/14 ended with a Champions League final win – in which he scored – but in the past two campaigns, injuries have not helped the Welshman’s progression at the Bernabeu.

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However, a clean bill of health since December has not been rewarded with appearances, and Bale did not even celebrate Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning overhead kick in Turin.

“I understand that he is not in a good mood, that’s normal,” Zidane told a news conference ahead of Real’s La Liga game against city rivals Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

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“Players want to play in every game. We know what a good player he is and what he has done. I have to take decisions but if he doesn’t play two games it doesn’t mean anything. I still think he’s an important player.”

In spite of that frustration, Zidane said he expected Bale, who has regularly been linked with a return to the Premier League, to remain in Spain next season.

“My sensation is that he will stay but I don’t know everything that will happen,” added the real coach.

“He won’t lose any motivation, he’s like the rest of the squad. It’s my job to try and make sure he plays as well as always. He’s an important player but others played against Juventus and did very well. That’s football.”