Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has denied showing disrespect to Gareth Bale, and claimed the Wales forward refused to come on as a substitute against Bayern Munich on Sunday.
Zidane has said Bale is “very close to leaving” the club and that his exit would be “best for everyone”.
Those comments led Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett to complain Zidane had “no respect” for the 30-year-old.
“I haven’t shown a lack of respect towards anyone,” Zidane said.
“What I said the other day is that the club was working on Bale’s exit.
“I’ve always said the same thing: the players are the most important ones in all of this. Whenever there’s a player involved, I’ll always back them.”
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Zidane, who returned last season for a second stint as manager at the Bernabeu, was speaking before his side’s pre-season match against Arsenal in the US.
“Gareth didn’t come on [against Bayern Munich] because he didn’t want to, and he said it was because the club was working on his exit,” he said.
Bale has been linked with a number of clubs over the summer, including Premier League sides Manchester United and Tottenham, from whom he joined the Spanish giants in 2013 for a then world record £85m, and also with a move to the Chinese Super League.
Since arriving in Spain, Bale has won the Champions League four times and La Liga once.
Zidane says Bale will “train as normal” and that the forward could still be under consideration to play against the Gunners on Tuesday.
“The club is doing what it has to and that’s all there is to it. Bale is currently part of the squad and I respect that. That’s the most important thing for me.”