Wales winger Gareth Bale is enduring his most ardous time at Real Madrid. Tuesday’s match against Juventus noted for the first time that the Wales forward, when fit, failed to play a single minute of a Champions League match since his arrival at the Bernabeu, five years ago.
Bale was on the bench in Turin and forced to watch on as Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio and Mateo Kovacic were all called on by Zidane. But, the charismatic attacker still has no plans to leave the Madrid club in this summer's transfer window. If he does go, it will have to be the club that takes the step of putting him on the market, with a contract that runs until 2022.
Gareth Bale, since he arrived in 2013, had been an undeniable pick in the lineups for the most important matches. Last year, he was on the bench for the Champions League final in Cardiff, but the player himself had admitted that he was not 100% due to injury. Ancelotti, Benitez and Zidane (in his first season and a half) saw the presence of Bale in their plans with no hesitation.
The stance atlast changed on 14 February 2018. Bale was deployed as a substitute in the first leg against PSG and only played 22 minutes as Isco started in his place. The same happened in the return leg in Paris when he played just 14 minutes where young guns Asensio and Lucas Vazquez were used.
In Turin this past week, things got worse for his, as Isco made the starting eleven and then Zidane brought on Asensio and Lucas, leaving Bale out for the entire match. The player's frustration was clear and television cameras captured how he was the only player on the bench who barely celebrated his team's three goals.
After the game against Juventus, Real coach Zinedine Zidane was asked if Bale is now considered behind Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio in the natural order of things at the Bernabeu.
“No," the Frenchman replied. “He didn't get on the pitch but that was because others did with different jobs to do. But we're still counting on Gareth. We have another game on Sunday and he needs to be ready."