Zinedine Zidane defiant after axing Gareth Bale from Real Madrid squad: ‘Interpret it as you wish’

on his way?

The Bernabeu boss declines to explain reasons for leaving former world record signing out

Zinedine Zidane refused to discuss Gareth Bale’s future after the Welsh star was snubbed for Real Madrid’s clash against Villarreal.

The 29-year-old did not even make the bench for Sunday’s LaLiga encounter at the Bernabeu, which ended in a 3-2 win for Real.

Gareth Bale looks to be on his way out of Real Madrid

Gareth Bale looks to be on his way out of Real Madrid

Bale’s omission only increases speculation he will be heading for the exit this summer, and Zidane was in no mood to offer any assurances to the four-time Champions League winner.

“I’m the coach, I have to pick the team and that’s all there is to it,” Zidane said.

“You can interpret it as you wish. I need to pick a squad of players and some are going to miss out.”

Real were made to work hard for their win against Villarreal.

A brace from Mariano and Jesus Vallejo’s close-range strike ultimately gave the home side all three points, although Villarreal had been on level terms through Gerard Moreno and created numerous chances before Jaume Costa scored in the fourth minute of injury time.

Real bounced back from a stunning 1-0 defeat at lowly Rayo Vallecano last week and Zidane added: “We played much better than the other day and I feel much happier now, as do the players.

“We won the game at our ground and I’m pleased. It was a rather end-to-end game and when you’re 3-1 up you shouldn’t be letting them score, but we did. It’s a variety of things, tiredness, the heat, but we didn’t finish the game brilliantly.”

Real Madrid forward Mariano celebrates his second goal against Villarreal

Real Madrid forward Mariano celebrates his second goal against Villarreal

The home side took the lead after just two minutes when former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla dawdled in possession deep in Villarreal’s half, allowing Brahim Diaz to nip in and tee up Mariano, who got between two defenders to stab home.

Moreno equalised in the 11th minute but Vallejo restored Real’s lead before the interval and a brilliant cross from Dani Carvajal gave Mariano an easy close-range finish for his second goal of the game early in the second half.

Speaking about Mariano’s performance, Zidane added: “Of course he’s not had too many opportunities because he’s been injured, he’s been out for a long time. Mariano got his chance to play today and he’s scored twice, I’m happy for him.”

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