Zidane: ‘I never had a problem with Bale’

Zinedine Zidane
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Updated 20 September 2020

Zidane: ‘I never had a problem with Bale’

  • I’m not going to pit us against each other. I’ve not had any problems with Gareth, I know what he has done for this club, Zinedine Zidane, Manager of Real Madrid

MADRID: Gareth Bale completed his return to Tottenham Hotspur on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid, Spurs announced on Saturday.

However, the Wales attacker will not be fit to make his second debut for the club until late October due to an injury.

Zinedine Zidane earlier confirmed that Bale is in London to secure a return to Tottenham.

“I haven’t spoken to him,” Zidane told a press conference, ahead of Real Madrid’s first La Liga game against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

“What he’s done here cannot be disputed. He has won many things here and he has shown his qualities. Now let’s see what will happen.”

“There are negotiations,” Zidane continued.

“He’s there in London. I’m not going to pit us against each other. I’ve not had any problems with Gareth, I know what he has done for this club.

“I can’t say more. We’ve not had any problems and what he’s done here, no one can argue with. If he moves, I wish him the best.”

Zidane may have been keen to be cautious after he said last year it would be “best for everyone” if Bale left when a move to China seemed certain, only for the deal to collapse at the last minute.

Zidane added: “Gareth is our player at the moment and the issue is still to be closed.”

Bale has scored 105 goals and made 68 assists in 251 games for Real Madrid.

“Our club wishes good luck to a player who has been part of one of the most successful stages of our history,” Madrid said in a statement.

At Tottenham, Bale is still remembered as one of the club’s all-time greats.

The 31-year-old has won four Champions League titles and two in La Liga, as well as scoring arguably the greatest ever goal in a Champions League final against Liverpool in 2018.

“We know what the player has done in his seven years here,” said Zidane.

“Now it’s about what the player wants to do as well and I can’t get into that.

“Are there things that happen in a team? I’m not going to say the opposite of what I’ve always said. The player has been spectacular.”

Madrid begin the defense of their La Liga title this weekend against Real Sociedad, after being given extra time off following their involvement in last season’s Champions League.

The club have made no signings this summer due to the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, while Eden Hazard is again struggling for fitness.

Asked if Hazard had now recovered from the ankle injury that plagued him last term, Zidane said: “I don’t know, I can’t tell you exactly.

“He is better and the most important thing is him, his feeling, that he is 100 percent. We have time, we are starting the season. What he needs is to be 100 or 120 percent.”

Zidane also confirmed fullback Sergio Reguilon, who spent a successful season on loan at Sevilla last year, is joining Tottenham.

“I congratulate Reguilon for the season he had,” said Zidane.

“We have two players in each position, nothing more. I have two fullbacks already and I can’t have three, or four, or five, because then it’s a mess.

“We wish him the best because he had a good season with Sevilla and he deserves to be there playing with Tottenham.”


Valtteri Bottas on pole at Imola with Lewis Hamilton alongside

Updated 31 October 2020

Valtteri Bottas on pole at Imola with Lewis Hamilton alongside

  • Bottas pips Hamilton to pole at Imola as Mercedes lock out front row
  • Champions can clinch seventh constructors' title in a row

IMOLA: Valtteri Bottas powered to pole position for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on Saturday with the Finn's team mate and Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton locking out the front row for dominant Mercedes.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen qualified third, after a power unit scare in the second phase sent mechanics scrambling to fix his car, with AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly a stunning fourth on the grid.
Mercedes need only a fourth place finish in Sunday's race to secure a record seventh successive constructors' world championship.
The pole, with a time of one minute 13.609 seconds, was a 13th in 13 races this season for the champions.
Sunday's race will be the first grand prix at Imola since 2006, with the track returning to flesh out a calendar ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the third in Italy this season.
"This track, when you push flat out, it's beautiful. I knew I had to improve in the last lap and I found those small gains that were needed," said Bottas, who was 0.097 quicker than Hamilton.
"It's a great feeling when you get those.
"It's going to be a good fight. It's one of the longest runs in the calendar into Turn One so no doubt Lewis and Max will be chasing me, but it's a good place to start and hopefully the pace is good."
Hamilton leads Bottas by 77 points, having won eight times so far this season, and is closing on a record-equalling seventh drivers' title although he will have to wait at least until Turkey in two weeks' time for a chance to clinch it.
"Valtteri did a great job. It was a pretty poor lap from myself. These things happen, you can't always get it perfect," said Hamilton, who had been quickest after the first flying laps in phase three.