Gareth Bale's situation at Real Madrid "is unsatisfying for everyone", admits Toni Kroos, who has suggested that the winger "is still a bit mad" about being denied a transfer in 2019.
Bale was heavily linked with a move away from Santiago Bernabeu last summer, with Jiangsu Suning touted as his most likely next destination amid rumours of a possible return to the Premier League.
The Chinese Super League outfit reportedly offered the Welshman a lucrative contract, which he was open to signing, but Madrid blocked the move at the eleventh hour.
Zinedine Zidane insisted that the 31-year-old remained central to his plans at the time, despite the respective arrivals of Luka Jovic and Eden Hazard from Eintracht Frankfurt and Chelsea increasing competition for places at the Bernabeu.
Bale has ultimately been unable to earn a regular spot in the Frenchman's starting XI in 2019-20, taking in just 20 appearances in all competitions while Karim Benzema has soaked up the limelight as Madrid's first-choice forward.
The former Tottenham star, who joined the Blancos for a then-world record fee of £85 million ($109m) in 2013, played a bit part-role in Madrid's run to a 34th La Liga title, and cut a forlorn figure during the celebrations at the Bernabeu following a decisive win over Villarreal on July 16.
Bale has hit headlines more for his antics on the bench than his skills on the pitch since the resumption of the campaign, and Kroos thinks it is high time that a resolution is reached over his future at the club.
The Madrid midfielder told the Lauschangriff podcast of an out-of-favour team-mate's current predicament: "There's no getting around that the situation is unsatisfying for everyone.
"He certainly wasn't brought in to play as little as he does now."
Kroos added on the possibility of Bale feeling some resentment towards Madrid officials for failing to sanction his departure last year: "I believe that he wanted to leave last summer in principle and that the club signalled a yes at first and then not again. I don't know if he's still a bit mad about that. It's a difficult subject."
The Germany international did, however, insist that Bale has been subjected to unfair scrutiny over the past couple of years, and that he hasn't been a disruptive presence within the dressing room.
"It's certainly not as extreme as it's made out to be," said Kroos. "Everything is okay in the team. I've known him for six years and we've won some pretty big things together."