Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane uninterested in Gareth Bale media 'noise' after 'Wales. Golf. Madrid' flag saga

Ben Hayward
Evening Standard
AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says he is not interested in discussing the latest Gareth Bale controversy and has backed his player to be important again for Los Blancos.

Bale has been in the eye of the storm in recent weeks after sitting out the last six games for Real and then featuring twice for Wales in the international break, when he was also accused of disrespecting the club as he and his team-mates celebrated qualification to Euro 2020 by singing and dancing with a flag which read 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.'

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Zidane was asked nine questions about the Welshman in his press conference on Friday and the first one, predictably, focused on the flag.

"I consider that we make too much noise with Gareth," the Frenchman said. "It's important we concentrate on football. Everyone has their opinion, but in the end it's too much.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

"We have him back and we're delighted. He has given a lot to the club and I only look at the sporting side. The other stuff doesn't interest me."

But it does interest the Madrid media and the questions continued. Next, Zidane was asked about a possible backlash from fans at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, when Madrid host Real Sociedad in La Liga.

"When you look at what he has given to the club and the fans, who feel the colours, the ones who come on Saturday, must think he is one of ours and the people must get behind him."

Had he spoken to Bale? "Like I speak with all the players," Zidane said. "He's fine. He trained normally."

It was then put to Zidane that the 30-year-old appears happier when he is with Wales, but he replied: "When he scored his goal in the Champions League final, he looked very happy to me. Maybe it's the language. Here in the dressing room, he's fine."

(Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Asked if Bale should come out and speak, he said: "I don't know. He went away with his national team. He played. He's fine and now he's here with us. That's the important thing."

In the Welshman's absence, Rodrygo has stepped up and impressed on the right. With that in mind, should Bale be considered a definite starter?

"I'm not going to answer," the coach said. "But we know what he can bring."

Has he laughed at Real Madrid? "I won't get into that," Zidane replied. "Bale is my player."

(AFP/Getty Images)
(AFP/Getty Images)

Then asked if he thought the winger would be key once more, he said: "I think he can be decisive again. He's an important player. If he's in good shape, if nothing's wrong, he's very important. He has shown that and he will show it again."

And finally, it was put to Zidane that Bale's behaviour meant it was easy to ask the coach about him.

"He thinks it's too much," the Frenchman replied.

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