Saturday 14 December 2019

'Gareth Bale has been treated disgracefully by Zidane' - Gerry Armstrong

Gareth Bale looks set to leave his recent troubles at Real Madrid for a big-money transfer to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Gareth Bale looks set to leave his recent troubles at Real Madrid for a big-money transfer to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Gareth Bale has been cast as the scapegoat of Real Madrid’s aborted bid to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United last summer.

That’s the verdict of Northern Ireland legend Gerry Armstrong, who has hit out at Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane for his ‘disgraceful’ treatment of the four-time Champions League winning star.

Bale will hope to play for Real Madrid in their Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain tonight, but he still faces an uncertain future at the club so long as Zidane remains at the helm.

"You look at what Bale has achieved at Real Madrid since he arrived at the club in 2013 and it's quite remarkable, but Zidane doesn't want him for whatever reason and it is hard to see how that situation can be rectified," states Virgin Media sport commentator Armstrong.

"This all dates back to the summer, when Zidane wanted to sign Pogba from Manchester United and even went as far as telling the Frenchman and his agent that he would be coming to the Bernabeu.

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Zinedine Zidane

"For that to happen, Bale had to be taken out of the squad and removed from the wage bill and Zidane felt really let down when that didn't happen. He wanted Gareth to go to China, the deal was in place and then the directors at Real Madrid pulled the deal at the last minute.

"I love the flag he waved last week that says Wales first, golf second, Real Madrid third. He is entitled to have a dig back after everything that has been thrown at him.

"Despite it all, if Gareth Bale is fit, he has to be put into the Real Madrid team against PSG. He is still a world class player, but he has been treated disgracefully by Zidane."

Former Tottenham striker Armstrong also gave his verdict on the move by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to replace Mauricio Pochettino with Jose Mourinho last week, ahead of their Champions League clash against Olympics on Tuesday night.

"I think Pochettino was a victim of his own success as he over-achieved by getting them to the Champions League final and expectations have gone through the roof," added Armstrong.

"Pochettino said a couple of years ago that big money needed to be spent on the team. He outlined the players that needed to go and the ones that had to come in, but none of that happened as all the monies were being directed at building the stadium and the situation reached breaking point last week.

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Jose Mourinho makes a very public show of support for Dele Alli after the Tottenham midfielder’s impressive display against West Ham. Photo: David Klein/Reuters

"Now Jose Mourinho has come in to try and revive a team that has lost its way. Mourinho's record speaks for itself. He has won trophies everywhere he goes, his record is incredible, but he needs to prove a few points again after the way it ended for him at Chelsea and Manchester United.

"He divides opinion and I saw some Tottenham fans voicing their disappointment at Mourinho's arrival at the club, but a new voice in the dressing room with fresh ideas may be what is needed.

"Could Tottenham win the Champions League this season? Mourinho would like to believe that could happen and with his record, you would be made to write him off."

Virgin Media Sport is the home of the Champions League, with all matches screened live and verdicts from Ireland’s most outspoken panel of analysts

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