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Gareth Bale admits he’s not happy at Real Madrid

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After nearly being sold to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning this summer before Real Madrid blocked the move at the last minute, Gareth Bale is playing again at the Spanish giants.

But that doesn’t mean he’s happy again. Far from it.

The 30-year-old admitted he’s excited to be a regular contributor again, but his mental state is still struggling.

“I’m very surprised because I think everyone knows where things were at in terms of me going,” Bale said about the transfer possibilities this summer, speaking to reporters while on duty with the Welsh national team. “In football anything is possible. It’s a crazy sport and it’s one of those things that happens that not many people can explain but one or two can.

“I wouldn’t say I’m playing happy but I’m playing now. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more turbulence. Internally we have spoken and things are what they are. I’m professional, I keep my head down.”

Real Madrid struggled last season en route to a third-place finish in La Liga and an exit from the Champions League in the Round of 16, and after a calf injury sidelined Bale for most of January, he returned to just a bench role for the remainder of the season. He admitted that was what drove him to seek an exit this past summer.

“I understand that I’m made more of a scapegoat than most, I take it with a pinch of salt even though maybe it’s not all fully fair,” Bale said. “Towards the end of last season was difficult, there is no denying that, not just for me but for the team. The situation has now changed, U-turned.”

This season, Bale has started all three of Real Madrid’s league matches thus far, scoring a brace in the recent 2-2 draw with Villareal. It’s more difficult to blame Bale for the early struggles this season given the defensive woes, with the club unable to keep a clean sheet through three matches.

Still, Bale stopped short of revealing any details of what happened this summer or the conversations he had with manager Zinedine Zidane, wanting to keep a professional relationship. “The things that happened will stay private with the club. If you want answers, maybe you need to ask Real Madrid. It’s between me and them, and we will have to come to some sort of conclusion. I know there was a lot of talk with everybody saying good, bad, whatever they wanted. I don’t listen to anyone because they don’t really know what they are on about. Most people don’t know and understand the situation. It didn’t impact on me too much. I had a great summer holiday and didn’t really think about it too much.”

Zidane says Bale will stay at Real Madrid

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Gareth Bale is staying at Real Madrid.

The Welshman was not wanted by manager Zinedine Zidane, who stated that publicly on many occasions over the summer.

But Bale started and grabbed an assist as 10-man Real beat Celta Vigo 3-1 in their La Liga opener on Saturday and it seems like Zidane is ready to brush all of this Bale talk under the carpet.

“He’s going to stay and we all have to think of that as a positive thing,” Zidane said. “The injury to Eden Hazard was bad luck for us but it didn’t change the plans we had for Bale in this game. Gareth and everyone else here is going to show this shirt the respect it deserves.”

After his move to China broke down at the last minute amid conflicting reports blaming Bale and the club for the collapse of the deal, his future at Real has seemed pretty much dead in the water.

Adding in a serious injury to Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard picking up a knock, and all of a sudden Bale is needed again. But for how long?

He was linked with a loan move to Bayern Munich but Philippe Coutinho moved to Bavaria instead, and Bale wasn’t chased by Premier League clubs during the summer due to his huge wage demands. With the transfer window across many European countries closing at the end of this month, he has run out of options to leave a club where the hierarchy and fans don’t want him.

Bale, 30, is now stuck at Real and he has another three years left on his contract. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the man who has won four Champions League trophies at Real, yet has become the main villain at the Santiago Bernabeu as fans lambast him for playing golf and not learning to speak Spanish fluently during his six years in Spain.

Hazard injured, Bale could start as Real opens La Liga play

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After a summer of adding immense talent and spending wild money, the only thing that can get in Real Madrid’s way is Real Madrid.

As usual.

The kings of chaos bring their wildly talented team to La Liga play this weekend, and will have James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale in the fold while Eden Hazard possibly missing through a thigh injury.

[ PL PREVIEW: Man City v. Spurs ]

Yes, that’s the same Gareth Bale who managed Zinedine Zidane essentially publicly dismissed from his side. Yeah, the same James who has needed to take loans away from Real to see regular playing time.

Zidane seems to be happy that James is sticking around. As for Bale, well, Zidane seems to be happy that James is sticking around. From Marca.com:

“It seemed like Bale was going to leave, but he is here. I will count on him, just as I will with everyone else who is here. I hope that everyone in the team wants to make life difficult for me [in terms of team selection].

“The team is what it is, and this is the squad I have. The transfer window is open, and things can happen, but what matters now is Saturday’s game and the players that are here now.”

Cool, cool. Sounds like a delightful room.

[ RELATED: Dan Karell’s La Liga season primer ]

Anyway, it may just be Zidane’s demeanor, as he’s been quite a decent player’s coach over the years. It’s a 2.5 horse race as usual there, with Barca going for a 3-peat, Real well-stocked with talent, and Atletico Madrid a possibility as long as one Diego Simeone is setting up the traps.

Let’s do this, Spain.

Real Madrid dealing with growing injury list ahead of new season

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If this season is meant to be a revival for Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane has his work cut out for him as the campaign nears a triumphant beginning.

After a third-place finish in La Liga last season plus elimination in the Champions League Round of 16, Real Madrid has spent big this summer looking to refresh the squad with young and prime talent. Yet things have not gone entirely to plan.

New signing Luka Jovic was withdrawn in the 28th minute of Real Madrid’s somewhat embarrassing 7-3 preseason defeat to rivals Atletico Madrid, and while the club would not elaborate on any potential injury, he looked in pain as he was taken off the field after colliding with Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak, appearing to have an ankle issue.

A potential problem for Jovic would make the 21-year-old the fourth player injured this preseason tour. The most serious of the medical issues befell Marco Asensio, who tore his ACL against Arsenal on Tuesday just minutes after scoring a wonderful goal. His injury has caused a trickle-down effect as the club looks to prepare for a lengthy absence, seeing the club reportedly about-face on the sale of James Rodriguez, instead wishing for the Columbian to stay and help replace Asensio.

Brahim Diaz was also injured in an International Champions Cup match against Bayern Munich, although he is reportedly expected to recover in time for Real Madrid’s first league match against Celta Vigo on August 18. Ferland Mendy, another new signing, was not so lucky as he went down with a thigh injury in the Arsenal game and is likely to miss the start of the campaign.

While none of these injuries directly affects the starting lineup aside from Asensio’s gut-wrenching fate (the glittering 23-year-old was finally ready to make the leap as a regular starter, having failed to reach 2,000 league minutes in each of his first three seasons with the club), it poses a problem for Zidane who built his previous success at the club on squad rotation and keeping players fresh. Jovic was brought in as a challenge for Karim Benzema, while Mendy represents direct competition for Marcelo who struggled at times last season but could only be spelled by the since-departed Sergio Regulion. Clearly, as the James Rodriguez situation shows, the injuries have already affected transfer strategy and therefore has a direct impact on squad makeup.

Zidane overcame plenty of bouts with adversity in his three Champions League winning seasons last time he led Los Blancos, so there is plenty of reason to believe he can work around these blips, but the club can ill-afford any more trips to the trainer’s office as the season nears its opening.

Zidane says Bale refused to play as saga continues

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Zinedine Zidane has responded to being called a “disgrace” by Gareth Bale’s agent.

And Zizou isn’t standing down in this situation, as he revealed that Bale refused to play in their friendly against Bayern Munich in Houston, Texas on Saturday.

Talk about doubling down…

Real Madrid’s manager said last week that Bale would be leaving the Spanish giants and it would be “best for everyone” if it happened quickly. That prompted an angry response from Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, who believed his client deserved more respect after winning four UEFA Champions League trophies, a La Liga title and Spanish Cup in his six seasons at Real.

Zidane has confirmed that Bale is training with Real in the U.S. and may play against Arsenal in Washington D.C. later today. But the situation is far from resolved.

“The first thing is that I’ve never disrespected anybody – certainly not any player. I’ve always said the same. Players are the most important thing here. If there is a player here, I will be with them. Secondly, I said the club were trying to find a way out for Gareth,” Zidane explained.

“Thirdly, which is the most important, is that the other day he didn’t get changed for the game because he didn’t want to. The club are trying to find a way out for him. For now, Gareth is a Real Madrid player, he’s going to train normally with us and we will see what happens on Tuesday.”

Bale, 30, is reportedly not keen on taking a huge pay cut from his $620,000 per week contract at Real and his family are settled in Madrid. He has another three years left on his monster contract at Real, and this is a huge problem for Zidane to sort out. Bale’s agent has also said that his client will not be leaving on loan, and that really puts Real in a tough position.

After signing the likes of Rodrygo, Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic this summer, Real’s attack has a whole new feel to it with Karim Benzema, Mariano Diaz and Lucas Vazquez all still around too.

Our own Nick Mendola broke the situation down over the weekend as to where Bale could move, with the likes of Bayern Munich, Tottenham and PSG listed as possible destinations, while a move to the Chinese Super League seems increasingly likely.

Reports suggest both Jiangsu Suning and Beijing Guoan will pay Bale over $1.3 million per week to get him to move to China, and if he is to leave Real this seems like the best option right now as many of Europe’s top clubs are balking at his huge wages, let alone stumping up a transfer fee for him.

It isn’t Bale’s fault Real offered him this huge amount of cash. And it isn’t his fault that Zidane doesn’t seem to rate him and Real’s fans boo him. The supporters have latched onto stories that Bale doesn’t speak Spanish after seven years in Madrid, plus the fact he enjoys being out on the golf course a lot and they blame that for many of his injuries.

That said, Bale has scored 102 goals and added 65 assists in 231 appearances for Real, which include star displays in Champions League and Spanish Cup finals. Real and Zidane want to get rid of Bale, but he isn’t going to go anywhere if he doesn’t want to.

Player power will win this battle, as it always does these days.