Real Madrid legend Jorge Valdano has claimed that Gareth Bale is no longer a priority for Zinedine Zidane – but insisted the club are not desperate to sell him this summer.
Bale has been targeted by the club’s fans and made a scapegoat for a disappointing season at the Bernabeu.
This is despite the Welshman winning 14 trophies following his arrival from Tottenham in 2013, including four Champions League crowns.
The return of Zidane as Madrid manager has further increased speculation that the forward could depart the club at the end of the campaign.
And former Real player and manager Valdano reckons Bale no longer has an important role to play at the European giants.
Speaking to El Transistor , he said: “Something interesting happened on Sunday: his first touch was whistled, but then, when he was through one on one, he dinked the ball just over the bar and was widely applauded.
“People still expect promise that has never been fulfilled. To his credit, he has fulfilled this promise at critical times, with trophies on the line, but, judging his performances regularly, he has produced less than expected.
“At any rate, Bale would be starting if Madrid wanted to cash in. Zidane has other priorities. He’s looking at players for next season.”
Real Madrid coach Zidane, meanwhile, is bemused by his team’s fans’ attitude towards 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 five seasons in Madrid – including scoring decisive goals in two of the finals – is given such a hostile reception by fans Zidane said: “I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t understand it.”
Bale came on as a substitute after being left out from the start for the second consecutive game by Zidane and irked the Bernabeu faithful by missing a one-on-one chance.
The reaction was in stark contrast to the one that greeted Isco, who came on to the pitch at the same time as Bale to much delight from the stands.