Wednesday 18 September 2019

Race on for Gareth Bale as Zinedine Zidane tells out of favour Real Madrid players to leave

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Real Madrid's Gareth Bale. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Zinedine Zidane has suggested out-of-favour Real Madrid players should be looking elsewhere for game-time next season and not choosing to stay at the Bernabeu.

Gareth Bale, Isco and Dani Ceballos have all struggled for starts since Zidane returned for a second spell in charge of Real in March.

The trio are all on long-term contracts, but Real are expected to recruit heavily this summer after a turbulent campaign in which they have been way off the pace set by LaLiga leaders Barcelona.

"If they're under contract, they can stay here, even if they know that they're not going to get game time," Real manager Zidane said at his press conference before Sunday's visit to city neighbours Rayo Vallecano.

"However, I think that all of them are looking to play.

"If I was asked the question, I'd want to go elsewhere and get more minutes.

"With 22 or 23 players in the squad, the reality in football is that there'll be players who'll end up getting less game time. But if there's no space for a given player, it's better for them to go and play."

Real will be without 30-goal Karim Benzema on Sunday as the France striker is suffering from a knee problem.

But Real will be assured of a Champions League place if they beat relegation-haunted Rayo.

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba have been strongly linked with summer moves to Madrid, while Raul De Tomas could return from his loan spell at Rayo.

"I've got a clear idea of what I want to do," Zidane said about his summer dealings. "I know about the profiles of player and everything, not every single name.

"But I'm clear about what I want to achieve next year and we're working towards that.

"There are four games to go and then we'll have to see. We'll have to see how we do things, but our idea is to bolster our attacking options."

On the possible return of 14-goal De Tomas, Zidane added: "That's an issue between the clubs. I'm not going to say any more because I'm not in charge of that.

"It's an agreement between Real Madrid and Rayo and it has to be respected. He's a player that I coached when he was with Castilla and he's got no shortage of talent.

"Perhaps what he was missing was the opportunity to play for a top-flight team and he's doing very well and has scored a lot of goals this season.

"He links up well with his team-mates, knows how to play good football and I'm really happy for him."

Rayo head into the weekend knowing they could be cut nine points adrift in the drop zone and their relegation fate all but sealed.

"It is very simple," said Rayo manager Paco Jemez. "We need to win and we have to do it against one of the best in the league.

"But that's no excuse, let's try to make it a big game. We have to, because if we don't win then things will be impossible."

PA Media

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